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The Dangers of a Cracked Chimney Flue

Your chimney flue must be in undamaged condition to provide vital protections to your home and family. Partly because of dangers associated with a cracked chimney flue, annual chimney inspections are extremely important. Below, learn more about chimney flues and the hazards of using a fireplace when the flue has any type of deterioration.

Dangers of the Chimney Flue

Cracked Chimney FlueA chimney flue is the narrow passageway in a chimney through which combustion byproducts travel from fires to the out-of-doors. The construction and operation of the entire chimney system should accommodate a proper draft so that smoke and toxic fumes exit through the flue as they are supposed to. When a new appliance is added, such as a fireplace insert, a new chimney liner may be required in order to ensure a proper draft. There is a standard formula that determines flue size and it encompasses measurements of fireplace and the proper ratio for a chimney flue.


The flue liner also protects combustible parts of the home from exposure to the extreme temperatures in a chimney. Since at least the 1950s, chimney flues have been required features in order to prevent life-threatening house fires. In old homes that were built without a liner, a chimney flue can and should be added if the fireplace is still in use.

The liner must also be perfectly intact because it protects the home from toxic fumes, including deadly carbon monoxide. With even the tiniest crack in a liner, fumes can enter the living space in a home and endanger all of the occupants.

Clay Tile Flue Liners

The most common type of flue liner built in homes across the United States is a clay tile flue liner. This is the case because clay tiles do an effective job of protecting the home for an average of about 25 years and yet they are inexpensive materials preferred by the vast majority of builders.

Over time, clay tiles begin to deteriorate. The most cost-effective solution is to reline the chimney. The cost to replace clay tiles is prohibitive. It involves partially tearing down the chimney in order to replace the damaged clay tiles. In the meantime, other parts of the tile liner are wearing away, which means more tear-downs and rebuilds will be necessary in the near future.

Metal Chimney Flue Liners

Metal Chimney Flue LinersMost chimney professionals recommend stainless steel chimney liners because they typically don’t require replacement within a lifetime and many come with a lifetime warranty. Stainless steel chimney liners deemed safe for home use have been accepted by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) as long as they are installed properly.

Less expensive materials are also used for chimney liners, including aluminum. Because the condition of a chimney flue directly affects safety, choosing stainless steel is an important choice for safety reasons.

Contact Northeastern Chimney LLC

When is the last time your chimney was inspected? If more than a year, contact our chimney experts at Northeastern Chimney LLC today. The condition of your chimney flue could be a threat to your home and family. Our certified chimney sweeps can identify the many types of chimney damage that can occur, including chimney liner damage. We also offer the best chimney repair services, including chimney cleaning, masonry rebuilds, chimney crown repair, and much more. Call us at 860-233-5770 today.

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