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 Chimney FAQ

Why is it important to inspect and clean oil chimney flues and gas chimney flues annually?

The chimney flue is the passageway for toxic gases to escape out of your home. Cracks, holes or obstructions in a chimney flue can cause dangerous carbon monoxide fumes, or soot, to leak into your home. This is why the National Fire Protection Association recommends that oil and gas furnace flues are inspected yearly to insure proper draft, venting of soot & fumes, and, to guarantee that there is not an obstruction in the flue.

What does a chimney sweep determine from inspecting my chimney? Is this inspection necessary?

To understand what is getting inspected in your chimney, you need to understand what is happening in your chimney. For starters, your furnace is exhausted into your chimney. If this passageway becomes obstructed with debris, carbon monoxide and soot will be exhausted into your home, which creates a very dangerous situation for you and your family.

The debris that accumulates in your chimney is from the ongoing breakdown and decay of the inside passageway from your furnace chimney. This passageway is constructed of terracotta tiles that form a column to exhaust the gases. Over time, the exhaust, which is laced with sulfur and water, attacks the skin of these terracotta tiles, and this begins an ongoing shedding process. The shedding debris then begins to accumulate at the base of the chimney or in the turns of the chimney column. This shedding and accumulation process requires yearly monitoring by a chimney technician. Failure to do so puts your furnace chimney, and your home, at risk of a carbon monoxide blockage.

Also, as your chimney ages its 5/8” thick liner can become so decayed that partial or full sections of tile can collapse and cause obstructions and holes or cracks in the exhaust column. This allows gases to leak into your home’s living quarters. At this point you may need to have the liner replaced with stainless steel. Your chimney technician monitors this aging process, protecting your chimney, your home, and your family.

Finally, if your chimney was built prior to 1900, there is no column of tile. This is called an unlined chimney and should be relined with a stainless steel chimney liner.

At what age does a chimney begin to deteriorate?

Our technicians have encountered flaking tiles and misaligned flue tiles in homes as young as ten years old.

What factors can accelerate the deterioration of a furnace chimney flue?

  1. Gas Heat: The high volume of water vapor in gas heat exhaust increases deterioration.
  2. An Adjacent Laundry Room: Vapors from chlorine and other cleaning products can enter the chimney through the combustion chamber of the furnace, the draft hood of heating appliances, or the draft regulator on the smoke pipe.
  3. A Nearby Workshop: Again, vapors from solvents can be drawn into the chimney liner.

What is the best way to fix the lining of a chimney flue?

Terra cotta is very vulnerable to the elements, while stainless steel is corrosion resistant. That is why we believe that a stainless steel chimney liner is the best solution. We offer a stainless steel, double wall piece of tubular flexing pipe. This pipe can be fitted inside of the existing terra cotta tiles in your chimney. Smoke rises in a circular motion, so having a circular flue drafts the smoke more efficiently. Also, having a singular piece of tubing, instead of multiple parts, reduces the likelihood of leakage or deterioration.



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