Author – Dave Hannah
Chimneys.com has responded, with articles such as this, to hundreds of requests from concerned homeowners about the different chimney lining methods available today. As a homeowner, why should I read about chimney lining right now?
The US Census Bureau reported in 2013 that wood heat is now the greatest increase in home heating with more than 12% of homes nationally using wood as their primary source of heat.
Cold weather states have increased demand for wood burning up to 150%. With this new population of homeowners burning wood, the potential for residential chimney fires has increased at an alarming rate.
If the chimney fire is contained within the chimney flue system, often the lining becomes damaged and will require some type of chimney relining. If the chimney fire is not contained, a structure fire may destroy the home.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends having your chimney annually inspected and cleaned when necessary, regardless of use, to prevent chimney fires, blockages and other types of hazards.
If you burn wood, creosote, a byproduct of wood burning, is a major fire hazard. Older, less efficient stoves, catalytic damper stoves operated in the open mode and fireplaces should be inspected for creosote buildup.
In some extreme cases the chimney may need cleaning after burning only 1.5 cords of wood. The chimney lining must contain liquids, gases and heat. This article will focus on using a state of the art stainless steel liner when repairing or when upgrading your chimney for a new stove being installed.
Not all stainless steel chimney lining systems should be used for the same application. Some stainless material is best for protection during high temperature environments like a chimney fire. Other types of stainless are designed to resist corrosion found when acids or chlorides form when venting coal, oil or gas furnaces.
The first step begins with a chimney inspection. This is best performed with a closed circuit video inspection camera to identify any internal damage or unusual construction flaws in your chimney. This inspection should be documented for potential insurance claims on your homeowners insurance in the case of a chimney fire.
This inspection should also prevent the lining installer costly errors in estimating the cost and the time needed to complete the service.
In some instances the tile liners may require removal while other instances the lining is primarily for sizing to match the appliance being installed. If the lining must be insulated, the area within the chimney to insure the proper insulation may require removal of the tile liner. This process may add both cost and time to your repair.
Stainless chimney lining is available in many different alloys ranging from type 304L, 316L, 321 and AL294C, Each of these alloys has the ability to resist heat and corrosion.
Type 321 has the ability to resist higher temperatures and type 316L and AL294C will better resist corrosion. Your chimney sweep can better advise you on which type alloy of stainless you will need.
Stainless steel lining systems are UL Lab tested at 2100 degrees and in some cases for zero clearance to combustibles with the manufacturer’s required insulation. Your chimney professional should advise you about your chimney clearance requirements at the time of the inspection.
A major benefit in choosing a state of the art stainless lining system is a lower cost over other types of lining systems. It may be installed in only one or two days in all types of weather. It also offers the installer more choice in the alloy needed for the application.
As higher efficiency wood stoves, pellet stoves, oil and gas furnaces are installed, having the proper size lining system is critical to obtain the maximum efficiency performance.
Stainless steel liners offer the homeowner a reasonably priced solution and with the many products available today, provide a long term solution.
Chimney lining should only be performed by a highly trained and experienced chimney professional. Memberships in trade associations, certifications, licenses and contractor registrations in some states and a list of trustworthy references are highly recommended in choosing your chimney inspector/lining installer. Multiple estimates are also a good idea.
Check with the chimney professional list on this site for more information on your individual chimney lining needs.
~ Dave Hannah