Why a Chimney Liner Is Important
Before we can even start to discuss relining a chimney, we need to establish why a chimney liner is important in the first place. There are those who don’t think a chimney really needs a liner in it to begin with. They base their beliefs on how older chimney systems were built and many of them do not have liners. However, most modern homes with fireplaces are built with clay or terracotta liners or stainless steel, which is the safest and most agree the best chimney liners today.
For many years the only option when a liner was damaged was to remove it completely and replace it with a stainless steel one. As you might think, tearing out a clay liner was a dirty, messy and time consuming job. This also meant it was costly. Only in the last few years have several products become available to help us repair many of the damaged clay and terracotta tiles without having to replace them.
5 Reasons to Repair or Replace Chimney Liners
- Erosion and/or Deterioration of the clay mortar
- The Clay Liner is cracked
- Flaking or Spalling of the Clay on the Liner Walls
- Gaps between the Flue Tiles
- Cracked Flue Tiles
Both the National Fire Protection Association and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) have issued statements stating that cracks, gaps and other damage to the flue liner should result in removal and replacement or relining of the flue for safety and structure reasons. We are happy to go over the building and fire codes that state that chimneys should be completely sealed for maximum safety.
Chimney Relining Options: Repair or Replace
Relining options are dictated by the type of chimney you have. If you have an older chimney, it’s most likely made of clay. When the clay flakes, chips, breaks or cracks, it can allow dangerous gases like CO, which is very poisonous, to enter your home through the attic and walls making it a must repair or replace. If you have a stainless steel chimney liner, and it was installed by a certified chimney professional, it is backed by a lifetime warranty. Just call the original company and they will be able to help you get that liner replaced.
The repair for a clay and terracotta liner is so new we have an entire page of information on the HeatShield® process explaining how it’s done. Briefly, the interior of the liner is coated with a material then smoothed out to leave a clean and even surface.
When it is determined that a liner is beyond repair and needs to be replaced, we always use stainless steel. This liner has a lifetime warranty and is just the best material available for the job we ask a liner to perform. Stainless steel will not rust and it holds and moves the heat and smoke up through the house and out into the atmosphere with ease. The warranty is only good with the professional installation of the product — another reason to make sure you are working with a certified chimney company.
It’s All about Safety
The NFPA and CSIA do what they do for one reason: keeping people safe. The National Fire Prevention Association writes and maintains codes from fire safety issues having to do with chimneys, to electrical and any other problems that arise that could lead to fire in a home or business. The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a nationwide certification and educational non-profit dedicated to certifying individuals for chimney and dryer vent safety. And, while between these two institutions they cover just about everything possible to keep you safe, the one thing they cannot do is make you act when you know or see that something might be wrong.
That’s why we rely on you to call us when you think there might be an issue with your fireplace. Just like everything else, these appliances have a life cycle. That cycle can be extended or cut short based on maintenance. When the time comes to address the liner in your chimney system, our recommendations are about keeping you and your family safe.
We find most of the liner issues when a level 2 inspection is done. We run a video camera up the system and take a 360° view from the firebox to the crown. This allows us to see the entire inside run of the liner. When we see damage as described above, we will bring it to your attention so we can discuss the best options for you and your family.
Take a moment and call or schedule an appointment for that inspection today and let’s make sure everything in your chimney system is working properly. We’re ready to help.