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Winter Chimney Deterioration & Damage Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley SweepsThere are a number of ways we get our fireplaces ready for winter; having them swept, buying new firewood, and sweeping out ashes and coals are all ways to make sure your fireplace is safe and ready to use. However, there may be hidden hazards hiding in your chimney liner.

A properly lined chimney is an important part of the helping your fireplace burn safely, efficiently, and last longer. Because the majority of the chimney liner cannot be seen without an inspection and the use of technology such as closed circuit cameras, damage to the chimney liner may go unnoticed.

How a chimney liner protects your home

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimney liners are “A clay, ceramic, or metal 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.”

Because of their important purpose, a requirement for chimney liners is included in most state and local building codes. Chimney liners play an important role in protecting your home against the heat, gas, and smoke created in your fireplace. Protecting against a transfer of heat keeps surrounding walls, beams, frames, and other building materials from reacting to the heat in the chimney; when a chimney liner is damaged, the National Bureau of Standards found adjacent building materials can catch fire in as little as three hours due to heat transfer.

Chimney liners also keep smoke and gasses from getting into the air supply of your home. A quality, undamaged liner helps keep toxic byproducts of combustion, including the extremely dangerous carbon monoxide gas venting safely up and out of your chimney instead of lingering in the flue or seeping into your home. This is especially important during the winter when most homes have their doors and windows tightly closed, letting in little outside air.

Does my chimney need to be relined?

Because of the difficult to access location, length, and size of the chimney liner, repairs in specific areas are often too difficult to complete. Because of this, a complete chimney relining may be recommended. There are several reasons why a chimney might need to be relined.

Damage. Damage to the chimney liner can cause it to lose the ability to protect your home against heat transfer, as well as allow smoke and gas into your home’s air supply.
New fireplace or insert. A new fireplace or insert may have different venting requirements than your old unit; relining the flue can ensure your new fireplace burns as safely and efficiently as possible.

Changing fuel sources. The byproducts of combustion from wood, gas, coal, and pellet fires are all different; because of this, they require different types of chimney liners. If you have changed fuel sources, a new chimney liner can protect your flue.

Winter weather is just around the corner; make sure your fireplace is ready to be safely used all year round by having the liner checked. For more information on the importance of a quality chimney liner or to have your chimney inspected, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!