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Chimney Anatomy

Chimneys have an anatomy! Never took that course in school? Well, we did. At CSIA school that is. CSIA is the Certifying Organization for all professional chimney sweeps. We advise always choosing a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.

Get to Know the Parts of Your Chimney

Have you ever wondered whether the services of a chimney sweep are truly important to the safe operation of your fireplace? The more you know about your chimney and fireplace, the more you may understand about how to give them proper care and maintenance, which requires the help of a professional chimney sweep.

There’s a lot more to these parts of your home than what you can see.

Besides being perhaps better convinced of the value of a reliable chimney sweep, the more you know, the better you’ll be at troubleshooting if any problems arise and the more intelligently you can speak with your chimney experts about services you require.

Information about the chimney is below, and be on the lookout for a separate post that covers all of the components of a fireplace.

Chimney Crown – The chimney crown is at the top of your chimney, and its purpose is to protect brick chimneys from damage that could be caused by weather and water damage. Chimney Crowns are usually added during chimney construction and constructed using cement. We have a great video our our crew finishing up a Chimney Crown and adding a Chimney Cap while the cement is still not quite set.Some chimneys utilize a metal cover that is made to fit over the top of the brickwork called a Chimney Chase.

Chimney Cap – The terms “chimney cap” and “chimney crown” are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably . The chimney cap is essentially a roof over your chimney. The purpose is primarily to stop water from getting inside. They sometimes include screens which are helpful in preventing small animals and birds from nesting in your chimney. Usually Chimney Caps are made of a type of metal.

Chimney Chase – A factory-made metal casing around a factory-made chimney is a chimney chase, and it serves the same purpose as a cement chimney crown. Custom made chimney chases can also be used on masonry chimneys, but cement crowns are preferred.

Flue – The flue is the large open space through which combustion gases vent. It’s essential to open the flue before starting a fire in your fireplace; otherwise, smoke will billow into your home.

Flue Lining – The flue’s safe operation depends upon there being at the most very little flammable debris attached to the walls of the opening. A flue lining is usually made of stainless steel or clay tile which is formulated expressly for chimneys. Over time, an accumulation of flammable debris is only natural, which is why it’s important to employ the services of a chimney sweep at least annually.

Smoke Chamber – The smoke chamber in a fireplace services the purpose of gently compressing combustion byproducts into the chimney while not causing any backdraft. A sloping wall is usually the part of sound fireplace design which accomplishes this.

Chimney Damper – Within your chimney are doors which are lever- or pulley-activated. You use this part of your fireplace to close it off when it’s not in use. The chimney damper is also effective at helping to prevent water from entering your home. And if you don’t have screens on your chimney cap or if the screens have been damaged, the damper can help to prevent birds and animals from coming into your home when the fireplace isn’t being used.

Smoke Shelf – Just behind the chimney damper is a smoke shelf which serves several functions. It catches both rain water and falling debris, and it helps with the effective transition of large amounts of smoke entering into the small space in your chimney.

If You Haven’t A Chimney Inspection This Year…
Annual chimney inspections are a good idea, just to make sure everything is in working order and operating correctly. A cleaning may be in order or you may have problems that if caught early can end up saving you thousands of dollars. Risking serious consequences by ignoring the upkeep of your chimney system can result in disaster. As you can see by our quick review of all the parts that go into a smooth running fireplace and chimney, this is a rather complicated set of components that all need to be in good working order. We would be honored if you chose Northeastern Chimney LLC as your chimney professional to have your chimney inspected by our trained technicians.

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