Updated: Aug 29
A chimney liner is vital to safely operate a fireplace, wood-burning stove, and other parts of your house. Also known as the flue liner, it helps remove smoke from the home, prevents the chimney structure from being damaged by heat, and serves other essential functions. Flue liners are so important that many building codes require them in fireplaces.
If a chimney liner is damaged, it can lead to serious consequences. However, it's not always easy to tell if a liner has been damaged without the help of a professional chimney inspection. If you suspect that it’s time for a chimney liner replacement, here are three signs to look out for.
Broken Shards and Flakes
Have you noticed clay pieces or flakes building up in the hearth of your fireplace? Those are, unfortunately, pieces of the flue liner and a sign that you need a chimney liner replacement. Chimneys that have a clay tile liners can experience this problem, which occurs when the flue becomes cracked due to excess moisture.
Depending on the type of flue, the internal temperature can fall low enough for condensation to occur. When this happens, the condensation will mix with the acid present in the flue and become acidic. This moisture is particularly damaging for clay liners. Without having an expert take care of a cracked liner, it increases the risk of chimney fires and other problems.
Your Home Is Smoky
Even if you don’t see any clay shards, a liner can still be damaged. As a chimney liner is responsible for moving smoke outside the home, a failure to do so can indicate that it’s time to replace it.
Beyond just making your home smell bad, this issue may lead to a number of problems that can be hazardous to your health. Carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas, can leak through even the smallest of cracks in the flue liner and make your family sick. In addition to carbon monoxide poisoning, there are many other health problems that a crack liner can cause, including asthma attacks and other respiratory issues.
The Age of the Chimney Liner
Another reason you may need a chimney liner replacement is due to its age. But how long do chimney liners last? The answer can vary depending on several factors. For example, some types of chimney liners can last around 20 years, while cheaper ones will last only five years or so. Stainless steel chimney liners perform the best when it comes to longevity.
Further, if your family uses the fireplace often, then the frequent wear and tear can cause the flue liner to deteriorate quicker. Having an annual chimney inspection will let you know when you need a new liner installed.
It’s also a good idea to get your chimney inspected before or after (before is best) buying a new home, so you know what you’re getting into. This may be leveraged into the negotiating price as well. Also, you should take your heating appliance into account. Old liners were not created to vent modern appliances, meaning that a chimney liner replacement can be beneficial if your old one is outdated.
If you’re searching for certified chimney inspections to determine the age and condition of your chimney liner, reach out to On Duty Chimney Sweeps today. We offer a variety of fireplace assistance, including chimney liner replacement, chimney repairs, and our wood stove installation services. Contact us today to learn more and to get started.