Just like the human body, a masonry chimney cannot function properly unless all of its parts are healthy and working together in harmony. If one of your chimney’s components is failing—no thanks to water damage, dirt and debris, or a faulty connection—it’s important to have these parts professionally repaired or have your chimney rebuilt.
In no particular order, these are the components that every masonry fireplace chimney needs—and needs to have in good condition—in order to function safely and efficiently:
• Chimney brick or stone and mortar
It’s important that a certified chimney mason construct your chimney—or handle any needed masonry repairs—as there are certain types of bricks that are specially designed to hold up to severe weather and acidic chimney flue gases.
• Chimney flue
Every chimney, masonry or not, has a flue, which is a long terra cotta or metal tube through which toxic gases and smoke vent outside the home. The width and height of your chimney flue can greatly affect the way your chimney drafts, so your flue needs to be customized to your home and heating appliance so that you won’t see smoke in your living space.
• Smoke Shelf
This shelf is just behind the chimney damper. It is flat and catches falling debris and rain water, and helps with the transition of large volumes of smoke chamber into the small chimney.
• Chimney liner
A chimney liner armors the inside of your chimney with a protective shield that greatly extends the life of a chimney and prevents the likelihood of a chimney fire by protecting adjacent areas from heat transfer and seals out toxic vapors.
• Mortar crown
A mortar crown has the important job of sealing your chimney from the edge of your chimney flue liner to the edge of your chimney structure, sloping downward to wick water away from your chimney, onto your roof. The crown helps keep water out of your chimney and also protects the brick and mortar that stretches beneath it.
• Smoke Chamber
The purpose of the smoke chamber is to gently compress the byproducts of combustion into a smaller space (the chimney) without causing a backdraft. The use of sloping smooth walls, in conjunction with good fireplace design and maintenance helps facilitate this.
• Chimney cap or top-sealing damper
Every chimney needs to either be equipped with a chimney cap or a top-sealing damper. These chimney components, fastened to the very top of the chimney chase, keep out water, debris, and animals, while spark arrestors keep stray sparks inside the chimney. As a bonus, a top-sealing damper can save you hundreds of dollars a year on your energy bills, as you close it when your chimney is not in use.
If you are building a home in Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, or Howard County, and want to have a wood stove installed, contact Clean Sweep Anne Arundel County. Likewise, if you have an existing chimney that needs repairing, you can count on us to do quality work.