Most homeowners think of their chimney as the bricks that they see extending upward from their roof. Each team member at Northeastern Chimney knows that there’s more to the story than that, and we often spend part of any visit educating homeowners on the various parts that make up their chimney system. So, we thought today we’d go over the four main protective components of your chimney.
Every chimney has a flue
Your chimney flue is essentially a tunnel, a vertical interior passage extending from your fireplace to the outside. The flue allows smoke to escape as you burn wood in the firebox. For most homes, your flue includes the brick and mortar we commonly call the chimney. It should also include a flue liner, typically made up of a thin sheet of metal that acts as a protective barrier for the inside of the flue. When our technicians visit your home for a chimney sweep, that means we’re removing any dirt and debris (called creosote) from the inside of your flue.
Your chimney should have a damper
A damper is a control box. It determines the amount of air flowing in and out of your chimney. If your fireplace is burning, your damper should be left open. If there isn’t an active fire in your fireplace, then you should close the damper so that cold air doesn’t reenter your home. Never operate your chimney with the damper in the closed position, otherwise, carbon monoxide can’t escape and will back up into your home.
A chimney crown is a vital component
Extending beyond your bricks and mortar is your crown. It’s traditionally a slab of concrete, metal, or stone. Functionally, it helps to protect your chimney system from deterioration due to weather. A good analogy is to think of it as your chimney’s gutter system. Rather than let rain or melting snow run down your bricks (potentially causing damage), it diverts the water away. Crowns can wear over time, which is another vital reason to have an annual chimney inspection. If your crown is cracked or damaged, your mortar is almost always soon to follow.
No chimney is complete without a chimney cap
Escaping smoke and heat effectively invites birds and other critters to try and take up residence on top of or even in your chimney. Your cap keeps them from building their nests, falling in the chimney, and also keeps other kinds of debris such as leaves and sticks from clogging up your flue and potentially starting a fire. Fixing the protective components of your chimney During an inspection, your Northeastern Chimney technician can let you know if any of these protective components of your chimney are missing or in need of repair. As each of them is extremely important to the proper function of your chimney system, you don’t want to use it if any of them have issues. Contact us at 860-233-5770 to schedule an inspection if you have any questions or concerns about any of these protective components. You can also fill out our web form to book your appointment by visiting the link here.