No one wants to find out that a new home improvement is needed. But when it comes to a chimney liner, that’s a necessary purchase you can feel good about, in spite of the cost. The bottom line is that it’s all about safety. When you use a fireplace or wood stove, the last thing you want to do is risk causing a house fire; but if you disregard the need for a new chimney liner, that’s exactly what you do.
There are several reasons that you may need a chimney liner, and none of them should be ignored.
If you live in an older home, it’s possible that your masonry chimney isn’t lined with clay tile. There was a time when liners weren’t required (those days are over). Without a chimney liner, exhaust from your fireplace tends to leak into the house through the mortar joints. In this situation, wood smoke can cause health problems because it contains, for example, carbon monoxide, fine particulate matter, formaldehyde, and irritant gases which can scar the lungs.
In addition, with no chimney liner, creosote in liquid form permeates the joints; and as a result, the chimney itself can go up in flames.
If you install a chimney liner, you’ll not only protect your home and family, you’ll add longevity to the chimney structure.
Your chimney may be lined, but the clay tile or pumice chimney liner may become damaged. Cracks in pumice or terra cotta clay chimney liners can occur because the house settles. Chimney fires can also cause the liner to crack. As soon as a flue liner becomes cracked, the home becomes as vulnerable as if there were no liner at all.
New Heating Unit
If you install a wood stove or a fireplace insert, a chimney liner may be required in order for venting to work properly. If you use an oversized flue, numerous problems can occur, such as:
- When the heating unit is cold, a large amount of smoke will tend to spill into the home.
- When the stove does heat up, it can overfire.
- The oversized flue can create excessive formation of creosote, which causes chimney fires.
There are actually code requirements which specify that a chimney flue cannot be more than three times the cross-sectional area (CSA) of a stove’s flue collar.
There’s no need to be filled with doubt about the need to get a chimney liner. Ask your chimney professional to show you photos of your chimney’s interior. On the other hand, if you see bits of crumbled liner falling from your chimney into your fireplace, that’s evidence enough that you need to install a new chimney liner before using the fireplace again. And if you’re installing a new heating unit, it should be easy to figure out from the instructions whether your current liner is too big for the appliance you’re attaching to it.
Ask your chimney professional whether the existing masonry tiles in your chimney will need to be removed before an insulated chimney liner can be installed. One of the best ways to feel confident about a major home improvement of any kind is to ask lots of questions and get the full picture of what needs to be done.
In the end, installing a new chimney liner is the kind of insurance that allows you to rest easy, knowing you can use your fireplace or wood stove safely.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
formerly Nayaug Chimney Services, LLC
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110