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Getting to know your chimney system doesn’t have to be complicated — you just have to learn some of the basics. When you know the basic components and lingo, you’ll be empowered to better care for your chimney system and make wiser decisions for your hearth. 

We want to help. That’s why we put together a little glossary for you. Give it a quick look!

metal chimney cap on masonry chimneyChimney – a vertical, channeled structure that rises above rooftops and acts as an exhaust for buildings, homes, etc., allowing smoke and gases to escape to the outside air.

Chimney flue – an opening or passageway inside the chimney used for containing and directing the current of fireplace smoke and gases.

Chimney crown – a large slab of concrete that covers the top opening of a chimney to protect it from deterioration, leaks, and water damage. 

Flue liner – clay, ceramic, or metal lining installed inside a chimney to protect it (and the home) from combustion gases and heat transfer, and direct the gases to the outside air.

Terra cotta unglazed–typically brownish-red clay–used to make clay chimney pots that mount on top of chimneys. Terra cotta tiles are often used for chimney flue liners as well. 

Stainless steel – a form of steel made with chromium that’s resistant to rusting and corrosion, and is used to make some chimney liners.

Chimney cap – a metal and wire mesh cover fitted to the top of a chimney flue to prevent water leaks and damage to the chimney, and to keep animals from getting inside the chimney.

Fireplace screen – a sheet metal, glass, or wire mesh shield that acts as decoration and protects against open flames and embers from fires in the fireplace.

Hearth – brick, stone, or concrete area in front of a fireplace. Also known as the fireplace floor.

Mantel – the framework around a fireplace that usually serves as a shelf above the fireplace.

Flashing – aluminum or galvanized steel sheet metal installed at the base of a chimney to provide a water-tight seal and block water from getting into the chimney and roof intersection.

Chase cover – used on chimneys with wood, metal, or vinyl siding, chase covers are steel or aluminum caps that are fit to the top of the chimney chase to prevent water from leaking in. They are square or rectangular in shape, giving the standard chimney look.

Smoke chamber – the area above where you make a fire (the firebox) that extends from the top of the throat to the bottom of the flue. Smoke mixes in here and then rises into the flue and out the chimney top.

Smoke shelf – a ledge that rests behind the chimney damper that catches falling debris and deflects rainwater.

Firebox – the area that contains the fire in a fireplace.

Damper/Throat damper – a small flap inside the flue above the firebox that is manually adjusted to allow smoke out and seal the fireplace shut when it’s not in use.

Top sealing damper – located at the top of the chimney, a top-sealing damper is used to seal the flue shut and keep debris, critters, and moisture out of the chimney. These are typically designed to replace old throat dampers.

Chimney cricket – a small peaked, roof-like structure on the backside of a chimney to divert water and debris around the side of the chimney.

Gas logs – a gas-burning appliance used in a fireplace and made to imitate real logs, gas logs simulate a real wood fire, without all the elements of a real wood fire. Gas logs tend to be more environmentally friendly than wood-burning options and are great for families on the go.

Fireplace insert – a wood or gas stove designed to fit into a pre-existing fireplace opening and replace the old burning appliance in the firebox. These allow you to upgrade or change fuel types with a simple conversion instead of taking on a full fireplace reconstruction. 

See, chimney 101 wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you can talk the talk and better understand how things work and why each component is so important. 

Have any questions? Just give us a call and let us know what needs clarification or further explanation and we’ll happily help!