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Important Chimney and Fireplace Terminology

Making yourself aware of chimney and fireplace parts is the first step to understanding just how a chimney system works. Some are thinking, ‘What do I need to know about fireplace jargon?  Pile up kindling and logs and toss in a match and enjoy the fire. Right?’

If someone knew nothing about a car, asking them to put gasoline in the tank would leave them scratching their head.

The same goes for a chimney. The homeowner needs to understand the inner and outer workings to keep the occupants safe and the chimney itself operating correctly.

Chimney Glossary of Terms

The cap of the chimney.  This is a hat or covering to a chimney.  Along with some wire mesh, the cap keeps rain, debris, and animals out of the flue.

chimney crown damage, south windsor ctThe crown of the chimney.  The chimney crown is the cement border protecting the opening of the flue.  As rainwater falls from the cap, it lands on the crown.  The crown, in turn, directs the water away from the chimney masonry, preserving the structure.

The flue is the shaft that draws the smoke away from home.  The flue is where a chimney sweep will concentrate during their visits.  The flue is where creosote builds up and causes significant damage, and even spark chimney fires.

The flue liner is a thin sheet of metal protecting the masonry of the chimney.  It promotes the quick exit of smoke and ash from the firebox outside rather than inside the home.

The damper is a metal plate at the top of the firebox that stops the smoke and ash from being pulled back into the home.  The damper is essential because it keeps animals and debris out when the fireplace is not in use.

The firebox is the unsung hero of the entire chimney setup.  It is where the fire burns to keep the flames in the box.  It is probably the most critical safety feature of a chimney.  Unfortunately, it gets the least attention during maintenance and care.

The hearth sits on the floor, allowing easy access to the firebox.  Some are simple, and some are ornate but, all provide a welcoming feeling into the home.

The ash dump is an opening in the bottom of the firebox allowing ash to be pushed out of the firebox.  There is another door opening where ash gathers, allowing for easy cleaning.

smoke chamber, farmington ctThe smoke chamber. Just above the firebox but below the flue entrance, there is a space where the smoke mingles with heat to raise the flue on the draft created by the fire. The smoke chamber features a shelf (called the smoke shelf) that prevents the smoke from falling back into the fireplace and might push into the home. The chamber is shaped like an inverted funneling, directing the smoke up the flue once mixed and heated.

Northeastern Chimney, LLC is a full-service and customer-focused chimney care company.  Call us for cleaning and chimney inspection.

Northeastern Chimney, LLC
37 Cody Street
West Hartford, Connecticut 06110
Phone: 860-233-5770

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