Parts of a Chimney

Homeowners often see their fireplace and chimney as a single unit, but in actuality there are many smaller parts that work together to create a functioning unit.  There are two types of fireplaces, masonry that are built of bricks or stone, and factory built made of lightweight metal.

For optimum efficiency and safety, all parts of your chimney must be functional. Any one part that isn't working properly means you need to call a certified sweep right away.

For optimum efficiency and safety, all parts of your chimney must be functional. Any one part that isn’t working properly means you need to call a certified sweep right away.

A masonry fireplace has a firebox built of individual firebrick, a brick chimney above the roof and a brick pyramid top.  These massive structures can weigh anywhere from six to seven tons.  They are long lasting and aesthetically pleasing, and need just a little care and periodic maintenance.  Prefabricated fireplaces are newer inventions, so they are built with a more modern perspective.  They are made of metal and come as a set so you must use the complete system together for a safe, efficient fireplace.  They have the same parts, but using the two types have major differences.  These units need more attention than a traditional fireplace and are not as long-lasting.

Even though the outside of a chimney can vary, the inside must have a few important parts to function properly.  Chimney crowns are important because they protect your chimney from water damage.  If water does come in contact with your chimney, this can lead to mold or mortar deterioration, causing the structure to weaken.  Next is the flue, which is how the exhaust gases get to the outdoors.  For a safe flue you need a lining to reduce the accumulation of flammable debris.  The smoke chamber is also an important part of the chimney because it compresses the byproducts of combustion into a smaller space so there is no back draft.  A chimney damper, usually a lever or pulley system, will be installed to prevent energy loss when your fireplace is not being used.  The smoke shelf is behind the damper and catches debris and rainwater.

If you notice any abnormalities in any of these parts, call a professional as it could affect the safety of your chimney and your home. In addition to the safety concerns, you may also be allowing dirty air into your home and the clean air out of the chimney. Call All American today and we can help identify the problem and propose solutions.