What is a liner, and why do I need one? That’s a common question I hear. Briefly, a liner is placed within a chimney to guide the noxious and caustic by-products of combustion out of your home as smoothly as possible without interacting with the brickwork of the chimney. It’s a vital part of your venting system. Unfortunately, if your home was built before the 1950s, it’s likely your flues are unlined. Unlined flues can cause numerous problems:
- Unlined chimney flues generally do not draft well. Smoke moves best when it has the smoothest path to do so. The unlined brickwork of your chimney creates an unlimited number of nooks, crannies, shelves, and steps for smoke to navigate around before it exits your house. A liner will smooth that path and allow for a better draft.
- That same unlined brickwork can have numerous small holes and cracks throughout the structure due to age, use, and weather damage. Those small holes can allow smoke, carbon monoxide, even sparks and fire to reach the vulnerable parts of your home. A properly installed liner should ensure that no by-products of combustion enter your living area.
- The longer smoke spends in the flue, the more soot and creosote accumulates. That creosote is higly flammable and can lead to a chimney fire. Not only can a good liner help to reduce soot build-up, but under the events of a chimney fire it can be a life-saving barrier between that fire and your home.
- Your insurance company may be looking for a liner when they insure your home. You may face higher rates if you choose to use an unlined fireplace flue. This has become much more common in the last five years, as insurance companies have realized the hidden dangers in an unlined chimney. Are you selling your home? Buyers today are looking to see chimneys brought up to modern standards, just like other parts of the house. It may be a tough sell with an unlined flue.
You have several options when lining a chimney. Every house is unique, and there is no “cookie cutter” solution for all houses. A professional chimney sweep, like me, can help guide you towards the best lining project for your home.
If you have any questions about liners, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to helping you.
Best of Sweep’s Luck to you,