Anatomy of a Chimney

1 Jul

Anatomy of a Chimney

Understanding the different parts of your chimney, and what they do, will help you make good decisions on the care and maintenance of your chimney.  Lakeview employs CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) Certified Sweeps & Inspectors to help you take care of your chimney needs and concerns.

1. Chimney Cap or Rain Cap

A chimney cap or rain cap prevents the entry of rain, animals, and debris into the flue liner while allowing the exhaust to exit the home through the chimney flue. Chimney caps are generally constructed of steel, aluminum, or stainless steel. Chimney. The chimney cap or rain cap is the first line of defense your chimney has to outside elements, animals, or other debris. Effective chimney/rain caps have a screen or bands around them that do not allow birds or animals to enter. If the Cap does not have screen or bands around them, it will be effective at keeping rain out, but not small critters or debris.

2. Chimney Crown 

The chimney crown  is the protective “helmet” to your masonry chimney. It sheds rain, debris and stop cold air from coming down the brickwork of your fireplaces’ chimney. The crown sits on top of the masonry (Brick, block, stone, etc. and the flue liner(s) pass through it

3. Height

The height of a chimney is a critical element to your home’s heating system. If the chimney top is too close to the roof, sparks can catch nearby combustibles on fire. Chimneys should be at least 10 feet in overall height. Where it projects above the roof, the chimney should be at least 3 feet tall, and at least 2 feet higher than anything within 10 feet. 

4. Brick and Mortar / Tuckpointing

Brick and mortar are used to construct a chimneys’ outer walls. Due to time, temperatures and moisture, your brick chimney may develop spalling bricks and require tuck-pointing and brick replacement repairs. Tuck-pointing refers to repairing the mortar joints. Though brick is the most common, some chimneys outer walls also have block, stone, or stucco.

5. Flue Liner 

The flue liner carries exhaust from your fireplace (or furnace flue) to the outdoors. A faulty flue liner will hinder the draft of your fireplace and may allow heat, fire, and/or fumes to reach your home. The flue liner is constructed of clay tile, stainless steel, or, in some cases, aluminum.

6. Gas Chimneys for Furnace & Water Heater Flues 

Gas furnace and water heaters exhaust through a flue vent similar to the liner in your fireplace. The gas exhaust contains carbon monoxide and is extremely hazardous to your health, and exposure can even be fatal. 

7. Flashing 

Your chimney’s flashing prevents water from entering your home through the roof. It is built using a thin layer of sheet metal to protect against rain or moisture. This layer is applied at joints where the chimney meets the roof, shoulder, etc. Loose or leaky flashing causes extensive damage, often without the homeowner noticing. We find water stains on ceilings to be one major sign of chimney leak damage. 

Join our “Forward Schedule” chimney service customers, and have Lakeview take care of your chimney annually.  This brings peace of mind to you and your family.

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