Chimney Parts from Top to Bottom
How many of the chimney parts between the fireplace and chimney top can you name? Knowing your chimney’s structure will let you explain a problem more clearly to a chimney sweeper.
Basic Chimney Parts
1. Chimney Flue
The primary part of a chimney is the flue, a vertical shoot that allows smoke and debris to exit. A brick chimney can have more than one flue. A metal chimney will have just one.
2. Chimney Caps
The cap serves as a cover at the top of the chimney. It keeps animals, debris, downdrafts, rain, and snow from coming down the flue.
Chimney caps are available in assorted sizes and shapes. There are three types:
- Black steel chimney caps
- Copper chimney caps
- Stainless steel chimney caps
3. Chimney Crown
The crown is located by the chimney’s opening. It features a gentle slope away from the opening to let water drain away from the chimney.
4. Chimney Flashing
The flashing lies at the point where the chimney rises above the roof. The flashing keeps water out of the chimney, protecting both the flue and roof. Flashings are made from aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, lead, tin, or lengths of roll-roofing.
5. Chimney Dampers
A chimney damper is often made of two metal plates. It seals the flue when the fireplace is unused. The metal plates tend not to seal completely, so a draft can emerge from the fireplace. Additionally, the metal plates can rust and degrade eventually, further compromising their seal integrity. New dampers tend to feature caps that give a degree of protection from the weather and make the damper more efficient.
6. Chimney Liners
To improve a chimney’s performance, protect its mortar joints and bricks, and reduce its cleanup, installing a chimney liner is essential. The liner will cover the chimney’s interior walls and extend about two inches above the crown.
The inner wall serves as the liner in metal chimneys. Brick chimneys have a separate liner installed. The common types are:
- Aluminum: Used mostly with gas-fired equipment.
- Cast-in-Place: These liners consist of a thick layer of cement-like material that is durable and offers excellent insulation. The material is applied directly to the chimney walls.
- Stainless Steel: This liner is favored for relining chimneys. It uses either rigid or flexible tubes with a surrounding layer of insulation that offers an additional layer of warmth.
- Terra-Cotta: Also called tile liner, this liner is on average 2 feet long and 5/8″ thick. The tiles come in square, rectangular, and round tubes. They are cemented to the flue’s interior to form a continuous lining.
7. Cleanout Door
Located at the base of the flue, this door allows access for inspection and cleaning. If you have a fireplace, though, you will likely not have a cleanout door since the fireplace opening is large enough to allow for chimney cleaning.
Knowing chimney parts from top to bottom is essential since it will let you care for your chimney better.