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Top 10 Things You Should Know About Your Fireplace Chimney

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Your fireplace chimney is there to protect you by venting smoke, sparks and dangerous fumes up and out of your home.

10 Facts About Your Fireplace Chimney

  1. Warm air rises, creating an updraft that pulls surrounding smoky air along with it. This strong updraft helps keep your rooms smoke and soot free.
  2. A chimney damper is a plate that can be deployed to cover the opening to the chimney. Although it's usually installed at the base (or throat) of the chimney, dampers can also be installed in chimney caps. A standard chimney damper can be opened or closed with a lever just inside the firebox.
  3. The rooftop opening of a chimney can be exposed or covered with a protective cap. Chimney caps can afford effective protection in a number of ways. They keep moisture and animals out, and can be configured to help enhance updraft and reduce the amount of smoke backing up into the rooms from chimneys that don't vent properly.
  4. A flue is a passage through the chimney to the outside. A single chimney can contain more than one flue if more than one fixture or appliance is using the chimney to vent smoke.
  5. At the base of the chimney flue, there'll be an access door that you're chimney sweep will use to remove accumulated debris.
  6. The chimney liner is a protective covering on the inside of the chimney. Most modern chimneys have liners in place. Liners help dissipate the amount of heat reaching the building materials surrounding the chimney. An effective chimney liner is one of the key safety features of your fireplace. Liners can be made from terra cotta, aluminum, stainless steel and other fireproof materials. Beyond creating a heat shield, chimney liners also make it easier for chimney sweeps to clean creosote buildup in chimneys.
  7. Creosote is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. It accumulates on the interior walls of your chimney as a hard or tarry deposit that can combust under the right conditions. It's a fire hazard and one big reason you should have your fireplace inspected regularly.
  8. A chimney crown is the very top of a masonry chimney.
  9. Have your chimney cleaned in spring. It'll get any foul smelling creosote deposits out of the way so you'll have a sweet smelling house for summer fun. It's the off-season for chimney cleaners, so you may net yourself a nice discount too.
  10. Chimney fires burn hotter than you think. That cheery holiday fire can exceed 2000 Degrees F in your chimney. If it touches off the surrounding construction materials in your home, the flames can spread quickly. Keep your family safe by having your fireplace chimney inspected every year.

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