During a recent chimney repair in Vienna, VA, a homeowner asked, what is a chimney liner? That is one of the most frequent questions that we hear. Chimney liners are one of the least understood, yet most important aspect of any fireplace system. Selection can determine the safety and efficiency of your fireplace and is therefore not to be taken lightly. Likewise, regular maintenance and prompt repairs will keep your chimney running and keep your family safe. Below you will find everything that you need to know about chimney liners.
What is a Chimney Liner? How Does It Work?
The Chimney Safety Institute of America defines a chimney liner as a “conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.” If chimneys are unlined, heat will move through them quickly, increasing the risk of woodwork or other elements catching on fire. Liners also reduce the exposure of corrosive materials to masonry.
Types of Chimney Liners
What is a chimney liner? That is just one of many questions you should be asking yourself if you are a homeowner. Since chimney liners are as versatile as every other aspect of your fireplace, asking yourself which chimney liner suits me better? It´s completely understandable. Selection will depend largely on your budget and the current state of your chimney. A few common types of liners are highlighted below:
Clay tile liners once dominated chimneys. If your home is more than a few decades old, it probably features a clay liner. Clay holds certain advantages but is mainly prized for its durability. It can hold up to a variety of corrosive materials, and, once installed, is likely to last at least half a century. Unfortunately, while the materials for this type of liner can be relatively affordable, the actual installation process may prove time-consuming and costly. Replacement is even more difficult, especially if the chimney is crooked.
Like clay liners, cast-in-place liners tend to be quite durable and can last several decades. Fireplaces with cast-in-place liners often burn cleaner, thereby producing minimal creosote buildup. Installation may be easier for cast-in-place liners than for their clay counterparts, but the process still requires considerable effort — particularly for chimneys with any bends or curves.
In recent years, metal liners have overtaken clay and cast-in-place models in popularity. Metal liners are by far the most convenient and affordable to install. They’re also quite versatile and can work well in chimneys of numerous shapes and sizes. The downside? Metal liners are typically more prone to corrosion.
Common Chimney Liner Problems
While chimney liners tend to be durable, a variety of issues can strike after decades of use. Liners are especially likely to show wear and tear if they weren’t constructed correctly in the first place.
As mentioned earlier, chimney liners may suffer corrosion or creosote buildup over time due to lack of proper service. Old liners are also prone to cracks near their mortar joints. Mortar joint erosion can be particularly dangerous, as it might lead to the leaking of harmful gases (such as carbon monoxide) inside of the home.
Proper Liner Maintenance
While only repair can effectively address an improperly constructed liner, most of the issues outlined above can be prevented or at least delayed through appropriate liner and chimney maintenance. Annual cleanings are imperative for reducing the risk of harmful buildup. Regular inspections allow homeowners to catch small problems before they become dangerous — and more expensive to fix. Click here to learn about the 6 most common Signs that you need chimney repair.
Regular maintenance is vital for both your chimney liner and your entire fireplace system. The team at All Pro Chimney services can keep your fireplace and chimney in excellent shape. Contact us today to learn more about our maintenance and repair services.
Last week I was talking to a friend from Vienna, VA about the process I went through to pick the right wood burning fireplace. As its name implies, this type of fireplace is fueled by wood — but it’s way more versatile than you think. Professional chimney services companies like ours will always review the options with you. However, with so many fireplace options available, it can be tough to make a final decision. From style to heat production, all kinds of factors come into play. Not sure where to start? Worry not, here are some tips to help you choose the right wood-burning fireplace to your home:
The right wood-burning fireplace should bring instant pizzazz to your home. If you’re eager to class up your interior decor, try a fireplace with traditional masonry. Nothing shouts sophisticated quite like beautiful stones or brickwork. If, however, you prefer a contemporary look, you’ll want to consider these options:
- Mosaic tiles
- Reflective gold
- Metallic accents
Choosing the perfect wood-burning fireplace can be a real challenge. Begin by reflecting on your current decor and the ambiance it conveys. A classic fireplace might look odd in a decidedly contemporary home — and vice versa.
Of course, while your fireplace should match your home’s overarching aesthetic, it should also provide enough contrast to serve as a proud centerpiece. Select a material or color that helps your fireplace stand out against the existing walls and flooring.
Open Versus Closed Combustion
The terms open and closed combustion refer to whether closed doors are needed for a given fireplace to function optimally.
- Open combustion fireplaces can operate successfully without glass doors. When you picture a traditional hearth, you probably think of an open combustion fireplace. While this approach provides much of the ambiance and charm associated with wood burning fireplaces, it’s not as efficient as closed combustion fireplaces.
- With closed combustion, the doors must remain shut for peak functioning. Designed for maximum heat production, closed combustion styles are best for homes in which fireplaces serve more of a practical (versus a decorative) function. That’s not to say closed combustion fireplaces aren’t attractive — style simply isn’t the primary consideration.
What About Wood Burning Stoves And Inserts?
Traditional fireplaces are by no means the only option if you’re looking for a wood-fueled solution. Alternate options include:
- Wood burning stoves, which do not need to be built into the wall or with a chimney. Many homeowners favor wood burning stoves for their flexible installation and efficiency.
- Wood burning inserts, which can be used to alter an existing fireplace. This is an ideal option for homeowners who love the appearance of their fireplace but desire increased heat production or efficiency. With inserts, you get the best of both worlds: impressive efficiency without sacrificing the classic aesthetic you desire.Here is an article that you may find useful.
No matter how stylish, no one fireplace, stove, or insert solution is ideal for every home. Think carefully about how your fireplace can best fit into your aesthetic and lifestyle. The perfect wood burning fireplace is out there — you just need to find it.
Hey are you interested in a gas fireplace? why dont you read this article about how to choose the rigth gas fireplace
There’s nothing that contributes to the warm, comfortable, homey atmosphere of a house like a fireplace. It serves as both a gathering place for get-togethers of family and friends or as a quiet companion for solitary contemplation. Although the traditional wood burning fireplace is still popular, many people these days are opting for the convenience and low-maintenance of a gas-burning unit. Gas fireplaces are particularly popular in Fairfax,VA. Professional chimney service companies like ours are always ready to install gas fireplaces. There are many types of gas fireplaces on the market, and choosing the right one for your particular situation requires that you learn a little bit about what’s available.
Why Choose A Gas Fireplace?
Aside from the obvious aesthetic reasons for installing a gas fireplace in your home, there are some practical reasons as well. Gas as a fuel is readily available just about anywhere and doesn’t involve chopping and splitting firewood, or purchasing it at often exorbitant prices, and then having to store it in a protected space near your house. Not to mention having to haul it in when it’s cold outside.
Gas fireplaces burn clean, so there’s no danger of creosote buildup which can cause chimney fires. They are also much easier to maintain and clean than their wood-burning cousins.
They can also significantly lower your heating bills, by as much as 40% by some estimates, especially if you currently heat with electricity.
And finally, they’re a good investment that will increase the property value of your home. Consumer surveys have shown that many buyers are willing to pay more for a house that has a fireplace installed. You can find more reasons in our previous article.
Types Of Gas Fireplaces
There are three types of gas fireplaces, the B-vent, the direct vent, and the vent free. Each has their specifications and requirements. It’s vital that before you install any type, you check to see if they are approved under your local building codes. Unless you have the skills required, it’s best to have the unit installed by a professional. Doing otherwise could not only be dangerous but also void your manufacturer’s warranty.
- B-vent – Sometimes called a natural vent fireplace, these require a particular chimney pipe to be installed through the house to the roof. These are used on decorative types of fireplaces, and usually provide a more natural looking flame, but also generate less heat than other types.
- Direct vent – This type uses a chimney pipe made up of two parts, a large pipe with a smaller pipe inside. The larger pipe draws in air for combustion from outdoors and the smaller pipe vents exhaust gases. The unit is enclosed in airtight glass and uses no indoor air for combustion.
- Vent-free – Ventless units provide heat and flames but don’t require any venting of gases, putting off only a small amount of fumes. Since no vent needs to be installed, they are less expensive and can be placed almost anywhere within the home.
Natural Gas Or Propane
These different fuels require that the fireplace is equipped with the proper outlets for their use. If you live in an area with access to natural gas, and especially if your home is already equipped with gas lines, you’ll want to go with that. Natural gas is cleaner burning and provides a more natural looking fire. If however, you live in an area far away from gas lines, you’ll need to have a propane tank installed on your property and have gas lines installed if you have none. Again, you should check the local building codes and see if any permits are required in your area.
Styles Of Gas Fireplaces
Today there are many different styles of gas fireplaces available, from traditional to modern contemporary. A peninsula-style, which is rectangular, can be used as a divider between two rooms. An island-style fireplace sits in the center of the room and can be seen from all sides. A corner fireplace is open on two sides and is an excellent choice for rooms with limited space. Shop around before you buy to find the style that is best for your tastes and needs.
Do you want to learn more about gas fireplaces? Make sure that you read our previous article about the benefits of gas fireplaces.
With so many options available, choosing a fireplace can prove surprisingly difficult. Depending on your situation, you may be currently considering the merits of a free standing stove fireplace. We recently installed a beautiful free-standing fireplace in a home in Columbia, MD. The best part was that the room originally did not have any fireplace or chimney installed. As a professional chimney service company, we find that homeowners love the versatility offered by free standing fireplaces. that are available. Free standing fireplaces have become very popular. Below, we offer insight into this popular option.
What Is a Free Standing Stove?
A free standing stove fireplace is exactly as it sounds: a fireplace that can be installed standing free from the wall. There is no need for a mortar chimney or a brick wall. This is an excellent alternative for homes that are not suited to fireplaces built into the wall.
Free Standing Stove Benefits
From easy installation to extensive style selection, a variety of benefits make free standing fireplaces an excellent option. A few of the top benefits of this unique type of fireplace are outlined below:
Flexibility of Location
Current lack of a fireplace need not impede you in your quest to bring this feature to a specific location in your home. While most fireplaces can only be installed in areas that already have the infrastructure for this feature, free standing fireplaces do not recognize such limitations. Free standing fireplaces can be installed nearly anywhere within a home. This brings a valuable opportunity if you live in a home not suited to a built-in fireplace; your home’s design or style should not prevent you from enjoying the benefits of living with a fireplace.
Exposed Sides For More Heat And Beauty
The full faces and sides of free standing fireplaces are often on display, as they are typically not built into the wall. Depending on the size and style of the fireplace, this provides an amazing opportunity for it to become a visual centerpiece in any room. Additionally, exposed sides can amplify the heat that free standing fireplaces deliver in your home.
Opportunities For Moving
With some fireplaces, it’s only possible to enjoy their benefits if you are in a specific home; as soon as they’re installed, they’re stuck. With free standing fireplaces, however, you never need to say goodbye. If you eventually decide to move to a new home, it may be possible to move your free standing fireplace with you. Likewise, your free standing fireplace could potentially be shifted from one room in your current home to another.
Free standing stoves come in a wide variety of styles and can be configured to use gas, wood or wood pellets. While someunits are purely decorative, many produce considerable heat. The options are limitless. Ultimately, your preferences determine how, exactly, your free standing fireplace will look and what it will accomplish.
The installation process for a free standing fireplace may be far more convenient than alternate options. Factors that influence where and how these fireplaces are installed may include ventilation, type of flooring, and type of hearth or platform. Installation is typically faster than building a brick and motor fireplace. Your fireplace can be up and running fairly quickly.
A free standing stove fireplace could bring considerable beauty and sophistication to your home, while also serving as a valuable source of heat. It’s a wonderfully versatile option that could transform several rooms in your current home or in future residences.
Your roof’s most prominent feature is also ironically its biggest threat. Problems stemming from a poorly maintained chimney – whether it be bad masonry, cracked edges, or even a possible chimney fire – can cause major damage to the rest of your house, especially your roof. We were recently contacted by a homeowner in Columbia, MD who had a damaged chimney that affected their roof.
Many homes have a chimney, even if they no longer have a fireplace. Some homeowners like to keep their chimney because of the character it provides their home, while others have one because they still have an active fireplace.
No matter what side you fall on, there are several things you need to know about chimneys even if you don’t use your fireplace all that often. Basic things like weather damage can wear down your chimney over time, often leading to other major problems down the line. And when it comes to your roof, a poorly maintained chimney can cause roof damage, which can be extremely costly.
Let’s set the record straight.
Routinely maintaining your chimney and calling in professional chimney sweepers goes a long way to preventing a ton of costly roof repairs in the future. In this article, we are going to discuss:
- The different problems related to bad chimneys
- Various causes for these problems.
- The types of damage they can cause your roof if left unchecked.
When it comes to protecting your roof, knowledge, and awareness are key. The sooner you can detect major problems, the sooner you can solve them, and prevent additional damage.
Chimney fires are unfortunately common for homeowners who neglect essential maintenance. A chimney fire can spread to your roof and the rest of your home easily.
What Are Some Signs That It’s Happening?
Common indications include:
- Loud crackling and popping
- A low rumbling sound coming from the fireplace
- Dense smoke
- A pungent, burning scent invading your home
However, some chimney fires are barely audible and hard to notice early on, so taking the right preventative measures is vital.
What Can Cause It?
Over time, heavy weather can break down the structure of a chimney. However, flue lining damage is a major culprit for fires. Flue lining is the material used in masonry to prevent heat from becoming trapped in the chimney. Seeping water can damage this lining, causing thin slices of tile to collect at the bottom.
Also, creosote, a black material with a tar-like texture that collects in your fireplace, can build up as well. Creosote forms naturally the more you use your fireplace and can thicken to several inches over time. The material itself is flammable and thus a major fire hazard. Creosote buildup can also choke your chimney of airflow, making your fireplace much less effective.
How Can I Prevent It?
Calling a sweeper is one method. Damage to flue lining can be difficult to spot, so professional chimney sweepers use specialized cameras to check for cracks and other damage within the chimney itself.
Also, you’ll want to consider getting stainless steel flue liners, which are popular with homeowners since they tend to last a long time and come with generous warranties.
But in general, you can’t beat regular inspections and cleaning. Like anything in life, being proactive will save you a lot of headaches down the line.
Whether we like it or not, masonry does break down over time. Depending on which region you live, your masonry will wear down from the effects of weathering.
What Can Cause It?
Inclement weather can chip away at stone and brick, especially near the mouth of your chimney. Even basic rain can seep into the cement between the bricks, which, when frozen in cold weather, contributes to cracking.
How Can It Damage My Roof?
Broken cement can fall onto your roof. Plus, the chimney’s weakened structure can collapse over time, posing a threat to not only your roof but also passers-by on the ground.
If your chimney does break off and collapse, it can cause extensive damage to your roof as the weight of it can collapse other areas of your roof, damage your shingles and tiles, and much more.
Water damage is one of those things that terrified homeowners across the world. When it comes to your chimney, water damage can erode it, causing it to crack, and in extreme cases, break off completely.
How Can It Damage My Roof?
As stated on sheltonroofing.com, sometimes cement and tar aren’t enough to keep water out. If your chimney is leaking water, the damage can eat into the roof around the chimney quickly. If water is gathering around your chimney, there is a good chance that it will rot your roof away with it.
What Can Cause It?
Decayed chimney flashing is a leading cause. Flashing is the material applied to the base of the chimney to prevent water from seeping into your attic.
What Are Some Signs That It’s Happening?
- Chimney spalling, or the flaking of brick and stone. This symptom is easily seen on your roof where shards of your chimney collect.
- Efflorescence, an official term used in construction to refer to salts encrusted on brick and mortar that show up when water seeps through the masonry.
- Damaged wallpaper in the house near the chimney
How Can I Prevent It?
Even well-designed chimney flashing needs to be maintained every now and again, so call a professional team like the All Pro Chimney Service team if you ever notice rusty spots or holes in the flashing.
Also consider getting a chimney cricket, a small feature on your roof that diverts rainwater and debris away from the chimney as they flow down the roof.
What Can Cause It?
When your chimney cap is damaged or missing, the open and exposed chimney mouth is practically an invitation for squirrels, rodents, insects, and other wildlife to enter and make a home. Birds can also build nests in chimneys, causing a blockage.
How Can It Damage My Roof?
Animals living in your attic can chew at your insulation and other parts of your roofing, so get that cover repaired as soon as you can. Additionally, a chimney cap can also prevent water from entering.
Calling the Experts
A lot of the damage-inflicting your chimney and roof are difficult to see from the ground, and since climbing onto the roof, yourself is dangerous. If you’re inexperienced when it comes to roof repairs, we recommend you call an experienced roofing company. Like chimney repairs, an experienced roofing company will know how to fix any problems you are experiencing with your roof properly.
All Pro Chimney Service offers dedicated roof repair services to customers in the Baltimore and DC Metro areas. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about your chimney, its condition, and how you can maintain and stay ahead of potential problems.