A chimney lining helps protect the home from smoke infiltration and reduces fire hazards when properly maintained. In older homes, these metallic linings are generally added to brick or stone chimneys as an upgrade from the base structure while newer homes often feature a lining from day one. After installation, periodic maintenance of the lining is necessary for fire prevention and safety.
Chimney lining basics
Every time a fire burns and smoke emerges from a chimney, there are byproducts of the burning process that do not make it to the top of the stack. Creosote, a residue created following combustion, is an extremely dangerous type of buildup because it can accumulate quickly and remains very flammable. As sparks and ignited materials periodically rise up through a chimney, it's possible for fires to start in the creosote and spread to other areas of a home. A chimney lining provides an extra layer of protection against fire, particularly with consistent care, and is a wise preemptive real estate upgrade for homes with fireplaces or heaters.
Chimney lining cleaning
According to the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection, many home fires start in creosote buildup due to unclean linings. For homes with a chimney lining, maintenance becomes the primary objective, and an annual cleaning is a good best practice to implement.
Consider contacting a chimney cleaning service or a chimney sweep either immediately after a fireplace is no longer used in the spring or several weeks before it is fired up for the first time in the fall. This provides a large window of opportunity to secure a booking and allows for a thorough cleaning and inspection of the lining.
During a sweeping appointment, a chimney sweep does a complete review of the chimney lining. In previous years, this inspection was limited to a basic visual check, but technology makes it possible to deploy small cameras into the flue now. Using the camera, an assessment is made of creosote buildup, and any heavier pockets are noted for removal purposes.
The sweep also checks for noticeable gaps in the existing lining as they are a sign of previous fires or high-heat situations. When a pipe in a chimney lining is damaged, the chimney sweep recommends replacement versus cleaning to help prevent future fires and smoke seepage into the home. Chimney linings are sold in segments, so it's possible for a sweep to clean unharmed portions of the lining while new sections are obtained and prepared for installation by a technician.
Contact a professional to learn more about chimney linings.