Parts Of A Chimney
All throughout your neighborhood, there are chimney tops as far as the eye can see. And your house is no different. During the winter, you enjoy sitting by that crackling fireplace soaking up every last bit of soothing warmth it offers.
Your Chimney From the Top Down
Have you ever stopped to think about the parts of your chimney between the fireplace and chimney top? It is important to know the anatomy of your chimney. If a problem ever arises, knowing the lingo can help you explain more clearly to the chimney sweep or repair person what you believe the problems is. So here's the basic structure of most chimneys.
The main component of every chimney is the flue. Quite simply, the flue is the vertical passageway that allows smoke and debris to escape from your house. Usually, there is one flue for each heating appliance in your home, which includes fireplaces, furnaces and wood stoves. However, each brick chimney can contain more than one flue. If you have a metal chimney, though, then there will be only one flue inside of the pipe.
Sitting at the very top of your chimney is the chimney cap, which can also go by the name of rain cap or chimney pots. As the name implies, this device acts as a chimney cover. Without a chimney cap, you would basically have a large open hole sitting at the top of your roof. They help to prevent downdrafts as well as keep birds, animals, rain, snow and debris from getting in your flue.
Chimney caps come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit all different types of chimneys. They are available as:
- Copper chimney caps
- Stainless steel chimney caps
- Black steel chimney caps
The chimney crown sits right by the opening of the chimney. The purpose of the crown is to help water drain away from the chimney. In order to do this, the crown has a gentle slope away from the opening of your chimney.
The flashing for your chimney sits at the point where your chimney rises up above your roof. Because the flashing protects both the flue and your roof, it helps to keep water out of the chimney, thereby preventing damage to your chimney.
Often consisting of two metal plates, a chimney damper is used to close off the flue when you are not using your fireplace. Unfortunately, metal plates tend not to seal too well, so you might still feel a draft even when you have closed your damper. Additionally, the metal plates can rust and deteriorate over time, causing them to lose whatever sealing ability they had. However, new dampers tend to come with caps that offer some protection from the elements and help make the damper more efficient.
To help protect the mortar joints and bricks inside your chimney, as well as make your chimney cleaning jobs easier - not to mention improve the performance of your chimney - it is necessary to install a chimney liner. The liner will not only cover all of your chimney;s walls inside your home, but will also extend at least two inches above your chimney crown. The most common types of chimney liners include:
- Stainless Steel: Often used in chimney relining jobs, this type of liner uses rigid or flexible tubes with a layer of insulation around them to line your flue. Not only do these types of liner provide a continuous, even lining, they also offer an additional layer of warmth thanks to the insulation around the tubes.
- Cast-in-Place: These liners are basically constructed out of a thick layer of cement-like material that is extremely durable and offers a lot of insulation. The substance is applied directly to the walls.
- Aluminum: This type of liner is used mainly with gas-fired equipment.
- Terra-Cotta: Also known as tile liners, terra-cotta liners are generally about 5/8" thick and 2 feet long. The tiles come in rectangular, square or round tubes and are cemented onto the inside of the flue to form one continuous lining.
In metal chimneys, the inner wall acts as the chimney;s liner.
The name pretty much says it all with this part of your chimney. Found at the base of the flue, this door is ideally airtight and rustproof. It allows you or a chimney sweep to easily access the flue, both for inspection and maintenance or cleaning. For those of you with a fireplace, though, it is unlikely that you will have a cleanout door. This is because the fireplace opening itself is big enough to allow for the cleaning out of soot and other debris.
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