Most people don’t give much thought to their chimney, as long as it is drafting properly and in good repair. You light a fire, smoke rises up and out of your home. There is a lot more to your chimney than you think! Especially if you have a masonry chimney, your chimney comprises many parts. Understanding those components can help you better identify issues with your chimney and discuss them with your certified chimney sweep.
Your chimney type
There are two general types of chimneys: Masonry and prefabricated. Unless you built your home or had a chimney installed yourself, you might not know which type of chimney you have. A masonry firebox or a masonry exterior structure doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. A masonry firebox can be paired with a prefabricated chimney, and a masonry exterior structure can be relined with a metal chimney liner. There is an easy way to determine which type of chimney you have. Simply shine a flashlight up your chimney and have a look.
No matter which type of chimney you have, they will have one thing in common. At the firebox end, they’ll have a damper to keep drafts out of your home when the fireplace isn’t in use. Both types of chimney should be topped with a chimney cap, which prevents water from flowing freely down the inside of the flue, keeps animals and debris out of the chimney and blocks burning embers from flying out of the chimney and posing a fire risk.
The construction of prefabricated chimneys is fairly straightforward. They generally are the hollow tubes that people imagine the inside of chimneys to be. Masonry chimneys, however, can be much more complicated, comprising up to 22 different parts. The most basic components of a masonry chimney are:
- The smoke shelf
In most chimneys, there is a horizontal shelf directly above the firebox. The smoke shelf is designed to prevent debris from falling back into the firebox and posing a fire hazard.
- The chimney throat
The chimney throat is the first chamber that smoke rises into from your fireplace. It’s located directly above the firebox and damper.
- Smoke chamber
After traveling into the chimney throat, smoke rises into a smoke chamber, which is angled to funnel the smoke upward through the rest of the chimney system.
The flue is what comes to mind for most people when they picture a chimney. The flue is the largest portion of the chimney. It is the long, hollow tube that smoke travels through before it exits your home.
- Crown or chase
Masonry chimneys are topped with a masonry crown. It is constructed to angle downward to direct water away from the chimney and should overhang the outer walls of the chimney to keep water from running down the exterior walls of the chimney. Prefabricated chimneys are covered at the top with a chase cover, which also is meant to keep water away from the chimney flue.
Regardless of which type of chimney you have, the experts from A to Z Chimney Services can help you care for it. Call us today if you’re due for a chimney cleaning and inspection, or if you’re having any problems with your chimney.