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Winter season is upon us, and as we look forward to sitting in front of our fireplace to relax, it is crucial to ensure the fireplace and chimney are in excellent condition. While chimneys provide a lot of comfort and warmth to the house, they can be highly hazardous and require proper maintenance.
Many homeowners do not own a chimney liner, and its role in regulating accidents that can occur while using your chimney cannot be over emphasized.
To decide if you need one in your home, we'll go over all you need to know about chimney liners, their advantages, and how long chimney lines last in this article.
What is a Chimney Liner?
As the name implies, a chimney liner or a flue liner is an interior lining for your chimney. When a metal, clay, or ceramic conduit is installed within a chimney, it is known as a chimney liner or flue liner.
The primary purpose of a chimney liner is to shield the inner chimney walls from heat and corrosion while properly holding and directing fire byproducts like soot, gases, and smoke to the atmosphere outside. The placement of chimney liners in chimneys is encouraged by US building codes and is also generally required.
Chimney liners serve as a means to prevent fires from spreading to your home, safeguard the brick and mortar, and maintain your chimney’s effectiveness.
What are the primary purposes of a chimney liner?
A flue liner is necessary for homes with a fireplace and mainly serves three purposes. They include;
- Prevent Fires from Spreading: Some homes have much woodwork near their chimneys which can easily cause a fire. Even the tiniest crack in the chimney wall can have a devastating result. An unlined chimney can be dangerous because they allow heat to travel through them fast. Using the chimney for three and a half hours is enough for the woodwork to catch fire. However, using chimney liners can prevent this from happening.
- Safeguards the Masonry: Unlined chimney pipes allow gases, creosote, and other fire-related byproducts to penetrate the brick and mortar. These gases are acidic and can eat at the mortar joints, allowing your chimney to degrade and collapse. This lowers the shelf life of the chimney itself by weakening the structure. Still, it also poses a severe health hazard by letting lethal gases like carbon monoxide leak back into the home’s living areas. A lined chimney with masonry chimney liners will experience fewer problems and last much longer.
- Effective Operation of the Chimney: Your chimneys require liners that are the proper size to operate well and allow gases to flow out. In addition to removing gases and smoke, the chimney allows crucial air for combustion to enter the system. The wrong size of chimney liners can promote the formation of carbon monoxide in gas burners and creosote buildup in wood-burning chimneys. This can weaken and reduce the lifespan of the chimney liners installed.
Types of Chimney Liners You Can Use
There are three types of chimney liners, and they include;
Clay tile liners
- Chimney clay liners is the most famous liner that most people in the US use. Clay tile liners work well with chimneys from well-kept open fireplaces and are best used when building a chimney.
- As one of the most popular fuel liner being used in the US, the advantage of using this liner is that;
- Clay liners are among the most affordable alternatives.
- This type of liner does not come without its disadvantage, which includes;
- Clay liners cannot handle chimney fires. The tiles can't absorb and distribute the chimney fire's generated heat quickly. Thus, they frequently shatter and crack.
- Additionally, the liquid combustion byproducts produced by contemporary gas fireplaces cannot be sufficiently contained by clay flue tiles. This type of chimney liners do not last very long.
Metal Chimney Liners
- Different metal chimney liners exist, but stainless steel chimney lines and aluminum chimney liners are the most popular options. You have the option of choosing between flexible and stiff stainless-steel liners.
- Some of the reasons why people use metal chimney liners are;
- Metal chimney liners are incredibly secure and last longer when placed correctly.
- While aluminum liners are suitable for gas-burning fireplaces, stainless steel liners are ideal for all chimney systems.
- However, the disadvantages of using this type of liner includes the following;
- The cost of a clay chimney liner is less than a metal chimney liner.
- For optimal performance, high-temperature insulation must also be put together with the metal liners, which will add to the overall cost of installation.
Cast-in-place Chimney liners
- This type of liner is a lightweight, cement-like material that creates a seamless, insulated, and smooth gas route. Some times they are called concrete chimney liners.
- Some of the advantages of having a cast-in -place chimney liner is that it has;
- An incredibly long lifespan of up to 50 years when fitted correctly and provide superb insulation.
- The older chimney walls gain from their increased structural stability.
- Any fuel can be used in these fireplaces.
- Unfortunately, there are some things you might have to deal with;
- It isn’t easy to install cast-in-place liners.
- The cast-in-place liners cost a lot as the cost of supplies and installation is likely to range from $2,000 to $7,000.
How Long can you use a Chimney Liner?
Most specialists agree that a chimney liner has an average shelf life of 15 to 20 years. In addition, make sure to carry out maintenance tasks frequently and have your chimney examined by a professional at least once a year. To make sure your house complies with building codes and is not in danger of a major fire, it is advised to replace the entire liner after 20 years.
When Should you should get a new Chimney Liner?
If you don’t have a chimney liner, you need to get one to keep your home safe from fire and health hazards.
If you have one, to keep your chimney working securely and effectively, you would require a new liner when you notice that it is damaged or the wrong size. As I stated earlier, even the tiniest crack can produce disastrous results; thus, look for cracks in your chimney liners.
It is always advisable to have chimney liners in your chimney; not only do they help in regulating fire and health hazards, but they also keep the masonry from degrading fast.