Your chimney is an important part of your home. The chimney system ventilates smoke and dangerous gases, keeping your home and family safe. Here are some chimney and fireplace terms to know so that you can look out for components that need repair. 

Firebox

The firebox is the area of the fireplace in which the fire actually burns. This is where the logs are placed and ignited. The firebox is lined with firebrick that withstands extreme heat. 

Hearth 

Another important component of a fireplace and chimney system is the hearth. The hearth surrounds the fireplace. Its purpose is to protect the immediate area around the fireplace, such as the floor, safe from extreme temperatures.

Damper 

The metal plate that opens and closes the flue is called the damper. The damper can seal the chimney when a fire is not burning to eliminate drafts. It can also be adjusted during a fire to control how much oxygen reaches the fire. 

Flue

The flue is the shaft inside your chimney through which smoke and other combustion debris exits your home. 

Flue Liner 

Flue liners, or chimney liners, prevent combustion debris from damaging the interior of your chimney.

Smoke Chamber 

A smoke chamber sits just above the firebox and underneath the flue. The smoke chamber guides smoke and gases from the fireplace and up the flue. 

Cap

A chimney cap is a metal fixture that covers the opening of the chimney. Chimney caps typically have a solid top that prevents rain, debris, and animals from entering your flue. The sides consist of small, grate-like openings to allow for ventilation. 

Crown 

The chimney crown covers the entire top of the chimney to prevent water from running into the chimney. Chimney crowns can be constructed from metal, concrete, or stone. 

Flashing 

Flashing is a piece of metal that connects the roof to the chimney. The flashing creates a watertight seal around the bottom of the chimney so that water cannot soak into the brick. 

Learning these important chimney terms will give you a better idea of what to look out for when it comes to chimney maintenance. Knowing what part of the chimney system is having issues can give you a better idea of what your chimney repair might entail. If you’re having any issues with your chimney or fireplace, give the experts at Sootmaster a call to schedule an inspection. 

 

chimney cap

Caps, Covers, & Damper Repairs

Living in the south, mainly along the Gulf Coast, then you know there are lost of rain storms. Actually, we get more rain than anywhere else in the country, including Seattle. The ranking of the most amount of rainfall goes as follows: Mobile, Pensacola, and Seattle in 41st.

This region has such a big deal about rain when it comes to chimneys and fireplaces. As the Chimney Safety Institute of America explains, “water, not fire, causes most chimney damage.”

“Whether masonry or factory-built,” says the CSIA, “prolonged water exposure can result in cracks or gaps in chimneys where creosote can collect and increase the risk of fire or where noxious gases can escape into your home and expose your family to carbon monoxide.”

Fireplaces, Chimneys and Leaks

In basic terms the problem with fireplace and chimney leakage is that water combines with the creosote that remains from fires to form an acidic mixture. Over time that mixture can eat out the silica in the mortar joints.
Once the joints are no longer secure, moisture — remember all that Gulf Coast rain — can get into the house through the chimney. For example, if water comes in through the chimney and is released under the shingles it can lead to the need for a roof replacement.

Also, without proper sealing, heat from fires can travel into areas which should not be exposed to heat, dry out wood, and in some cases actually cause the wood to catch on fire.

In fact, according to a staff report by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about 22,000 fires a year which are associated with fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors. Such fires can cause substantial damage and in some cases may lead to fatalities.

Also, without caps it does happen that birds and animals get into fireplaces. Sometimes nests are built and in some cases animals unable to get out die inside chimneys and fireplaces. Noises and odors can result from such problems.

Caps, Covers and Dampers

You can protect your household with caps, covers and dampers. Caps with spark arresters are devices that go over the flue. They keep out both moisture and animals, plus they help prevent sparks from leaving the chimney. Covers are at the top of the chimney, go around the flue, and protect against moisture. Dampers are inside the chimney itself. They can help create a proper draft to achieve the best fire, plus when closed they prevent animals from getting into the house.

Cap, Cover and Damper Services

We can install, repair and maintain caps, covers and dampers. We inspect such devices as part of our basic chimney sweep services. We have many devices in stock and can recommend the equipment which is right for your fireplace and chimney, whether it is masonry or metal, new or historic.

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