Inside a Chimney
Oct 14, · A fireplace chimney is a complex structure and can contain as many as 22 parts inside it. Let us look at the simpler parts of a regular chimney. The top of the chimney which is visible from the roof has a chimney crown which protects the chimney from water, dampness and deterioration. A prefab fireplace generally has a firebox of cast refractory panels, and usually some metal is visible in the room all around the firebox. If you look up past the damper, you will see a round metal chimney. And above the roof is more round metal chimney, sometimes surrounded by a simulated brick housing.
The diagram shows the layout of a fireplace and chimney commonly found in a home, but as all houses are built differently the layout and design of your fireplace may differ from the one shown above. The images below highlight the parts of my own fireplaces located in my living room and kitchen, showing each part clearly labeled for clarity. The firebox is the main part of the fireplace where the fire is built.
The firebox in my living room fireplace is made of brick that is painted black to suit doex other parts of the fireplace. At the base of the firebox is the hearth, and at the top of the firebox is the throat of the chimney, where a damper can be found in some ths. The front of the firebox is called the fireplace opening, where glass doors can sometimes be found, or where a fireplace screen would be located. The hearth is located at the base of the fireplace.
It forms the base of the firebox and extends out into the room, both length ways and width ways. The hearth inside the firebox can sometimes be referred to as the inner hearth, while the platform that extends out into the room can be referred to as the outer hearth. The insire hearth helps protect the room from any hot embers that spit from the fire, and a screen can be placed on the outer hearth to further prevent anything hot from getting into the room.
As a hearth has to deal with high temperatures, it so also needs to be made from non-combustible materials. Common materials used as a hearth include granite, marble, stone, concrete, brick, ceramic and quarry tiles. All solid fuel burning fireplaces are required to have a hearth, and the size and depth of a hearth must comply with your local building regulations and code. We have two open fireplaces in our home, and one of the hearths is made from how to bring your dog on a bike ride, while the other hearth is made from concrete.
A fireplace screen is placed onto the hearth to help prevent any hot embers from getting into the room. Read more about fireplace screens here. You can also read my complete guide to fireplace hearths, including examples of materials used as hearths, and regulations for sizes and depths. The fireplace face is located around the opening of the fireplace and is the part sticks out into the room.
The face of our living room fireplace is made from concrete; the iside material used for the hearth. It has been painted black to match the firebox. A fireplace surround is similar to the face of a fireplace, but is usually more of a decorative feature. Before redecorating our kitchen, there was a gas insert in the kitchen fireplace with a wooden fireplace surround. To learn more about fireplace surrounds, as well as see what they look like from behind, click here.
The fireplace back panel is located between the opening of the fireplace and the surround. It can be used to compliment the look of the hearth to improve the design of looj fireplace. You can see what a back panel looks like in more detail here. The mantel is located cyimney the top of the fireplace surround, or top of the face of an open fireplace. The mantel provides a shelf on which decorations and other items can be placed, but can sometimes help with preventing smoke from the fire from coming into the room.
The mantel in our living room is made from concrete, while the mantel of the fireplace surround I removed from our kitchen is made of wood. The lintel is located at the top of the firebox, between the throat of the chimney and the fireplace surround. Its main purpose is structural, and helps spread the load of the chimneybreast across the sides of the fireplace. The throat of the chimney chimndy located at the intersection between the chimney and the fireplace, at the base of the chimney and at the top of the firebox.
Below is a picture of me looking up into the throat of the chimney from our living room fireplace. A throat damper is a plate made from a fire whqt material such as metal or ceramic and sits just above the firebox, covering the entire internal area of the chimney. It may also be used to reduce the draft on the fireplace from the chimney by closing it down. The damper must be open before a fire is started or smoke will come into the house rather than up the chimney.
A chimney provides a safe passageway for waste smoke and gases from a fire to leave the fireplace and be removed from a home. The chimney starts at the top of the firebox and extends vertically through the roof of the house. The chimney must protrude a certain distance above the roofline of the house to ensure sufficient draw on the fireplace. The internal diameter of the fireplace must be designed along with the height of what is my spirit animal based on my birthday chimney, and the size of the firebox and opening of the fireplace to provide an efficiently operating fireplace.
The cap is located at the very top of the chimney and acts as a roof to the chimney. Its main purpose is to help prevent wet weather, animals and debris from making their way down the chimney and into the fireplace. The crown is located at the top of the chimney alongside the chimney cap, and helps to protect the materials used within chimney from the weather. The crown helps keep the inside of thhe chimney moisture free by diverting water away from the chimney.
What is a slapstick shifter flue can be lined with a heat resistant material such as clay or ceramic, and protects the structure of the chimney from both moisture and the heat of the rising aa from a fire. Traditional fireplaces can sometimes be found with glass doors located on the opening of a fireplace.
For more information on glass doors for fireplaces, check out my article explaining whether wood burning fireplaces need glass doors, and what purpose they serve.
An ash pit may be found underneath a fireplace, in which ash falls into to be stored and collected how to get out of quick sand later use. The smoke shelf is located at the base of the smoke chamber, and helps to prevent backdrafts down into the firebox. The smoke shelf also collects and helps to protect the firebox from waht water or debris that hcimney its way down the chimney.
Thanks for creating this website. I found it very helpful — well written and well illustrated. One suggestion. Because how to change a can light homeowners have converted their wood-burning fireplaces to gas logs, I think it would be useful if you could highlight anything unique to using natural gas.
Excellent Information on the anatomy of a fireplace. Appreciate you taking the time to share this valuable information. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Very helpful, thank you. Simple, short and understandable. Well written! Thank you!
Anatomy Of A Fireplace (Labeled)
What Does The Inside Of A Chimney Look Like? The inside of a chimney holds separate chambers, called flues, that service different heating equipment in your home. In this chimney, Flue A services a. Nov 07, · Like ours, not all chimneys have a cap, but can be installed by a professional. Chimney Crown. The crown is located at the top of the chimney alongside the chimney cap, and helps to protect the materials used within chimney from the weather. The crown helps keep the inside of the chimney moisture free by diverting water away from the chimney. Flue. Sep 17, · Inside a chimney you’ll find one or morevertical passageways called flues. Ideally, each appliance connected to the chimney (such as each fireplace, each furnace, each wood stove) has its own, separate flue. More than one flue might be contained in one masonry chimney.
One thing I have noticed over the years is that there are a lot of people who have fireplaces or stoves and would like to have a fire now and then, but never do because they think there is something wrong with the fireplace, stove, or chimney.
Knowing the basics will make sense of the whole process of building a successful and safe fire and how to avoid common chimney-related problems. Masonry Chimneys. What we usually picture when we think about chimneys is a masonry chimney: one constructed of brick, concrete blocks, or stone.
But current building technology includes another major category, the factory-built chimney. Factory-Built Chimneys. Builders and remodelers can now choose from a wide variety of chimneys constructed of metal and other materials. These chimneys are manufactured in a factory and assembled at the site. Among the more popular types of factory-built chimneys are:. There are advantages and limitations to each kind: Masonry chimneys incorporate traditional beauty that many homeowners want.
Factory-built chimneys offer a non-masonry option that often proves easier to install, at a lower price. Some types of chimneys are designed only for appliances that burn certain fuels. Determining the best type of chimney for you requires a complete picture of the specific appliances fireplaces, wood stoves, furnaces, etc. For example, factory-built fireplaces often require specific types of factory-built chimneys, while most wood stoves can be connected to either a masonry chimney or certain types of factory-built chimneys.
If you plan to have a new chimney installed, first find out what type of chimney you need for your appliance. Chimney requirements should be spelled out pretty clearly. If you plan to install a new or used appliance into an existing chimney, you need to do the same thing.
It could be disastrous, for example, to connect a wood stove into a chimney that is designed only for a certain type of fireplace. Find out for certain. If not, they might still be familiar enough with your model to offer some useful information. A chimney, simply put, is a vertical tube designed to draw combustion products smoke and gasses from an appliance like a wood stove or fireplace to the atmosphere outside the house.
Here are the basic parts:. Ideally, each appliance connected to the chimney such as each fireplace, each furnace, each wood stove has its own, separate flue. More than one flue might be contained in one masonry chimney. So if you have a furnace and a fireplace connected to the same chimney, there should be at least two vertical passageways up the inside of the chimney. Metal factory-built chimneys, of course, contain only one passageway for venting combustion products, the inside of the pipe.
Flue liners. In a modern masonry chimney, the inner wall of the flue is lined with some type of material, for safety, ease of cleaning, and improved performance. Among the most common types of liners are:. Note: For a metal factory-built chimney, the inner wall of the chimney serves the purpose of a chimney liner. If you are planning to have a new chimney built, or considering having your chimney re-lined, get as much information as possible about the appliances you will be using on that chimney.
Talk to the experts at your local stove shop, and talk to your chimney professional. Current construction and safety standards require that all chimneys be lined. The top of a masonry chimney is called the crown. It should be gently sloped toward the edge, causing rainwater to run off. The flue liners should extend above the crown at least two inches maybe more, depending on the local building code , so you might be able to see the tops of the liners from the ground.
At the base of each flue you should find a small, metal cleanout door. When your chimney professional cleans the flue, the soot and debris will be removed through this cleanout access. The exception is a fireplace, which needs no door, since the soot is cleaned out right at the fireplace opening. If you find a door in the cellar centered below the fireplace, it is probably an ash pit door. We will talk about that in the section on fireplaces Those are the basics. We will discuss other parts of chimneys as we cover relevant topics.
The purpose of a chimney is to take the combustion products smoke and gasses from the appliance to the atmosphere outside your home, and at the same time, to draw air for combustion into the appliance. This movement of combustion air and exhaust is called draft.
Warmer, lighter gasses in the flue tend to move upward. To keep the pressure conditions favorable, we need a tall column of warm air inside the chimney, and cooler air outside. The warm air will tend to rise, drawing the exhaust from the appliance out. As air exits the chimney, fresh air for combustion is drawn into the appliance. Factors affecting draft.
Since draft is a measure of pressure, chimney draft is affected by pressure conditions in the house. Several factors come into play:. Chimney safety should be a concern for every homeowner. Each year, lives and property are lost due to improper care and maintenance of chimneys.
You can check some parts of the chimney yourself. We will review those below. But other parts need to be checked by a professional. This is why you should have your chimney checked at least once each year by a chimney professional, and cleaned if necessary.
In some cases, your chimney professional will advise more frequent visits. Hiring a Chimney Professional. In checking your chimney, a chimney professional can check all of the visible components of the chimney for damage, needed maintenance, and fire safety.
A chimney professional is trained to look for dangerous or questionable conditions that a homeowner could easily miss. So what should you look for in choosing a chimney professional?
Here are some specific things to consider before you hire someone: In many areas there are few requirements or none at all for becoming a chimney professional. So the homeowner must be careful to pick a good, legitimate company. There are many good, reputable companies that offer chimney services. A little bit of homework will help you pick one! Once you have found a good, reliable company, schedule a date to have your chimney checked, and ask to be put on the schedule for annual visits after that.
Things Homeowners Can Check. Checklist: Things you can check. First, take a look at the chimney. Is there anything visibly wrong with it? Use binoculars to check the chimney top. For metal factory-built chimneys, look for corrosion, loose sections, bending, any movement in windy conditions, and stains.
Any visible damage to the outside of a chimney is cause to have the chimney checked by a professional. If the outside is damaged, the inside could be in even worse shape. Is there a cap on the chimney? Water from rain and snow entering chimneys gradually damages the inside of a chimney. Joints between liner tiles gradually dissolve, and corrosive elements in exhaust from furnaces mix with water and slowly weaken the lining.
Water pooling at the base damages the chimney structure. Freezing and thawing of water causes expansion damage. A good chimney cap reduces this damage by keeping most of the water out. Caps with a screen mesh also keep animals out. Raccoons, squirrels, and birds often nest in chimneys.
And finally, a cap with a screen mesh helps keep sparks off the roof. Look for a cap that carries a lifetime warranty, and ask your chimney professional for a copy of the warranty card for your files. Types of chimney caps. Some masonry chimneys have brick, stone, or concrete caps, raised above the top of the flues on brick or stone legs. Metal caps are also available.
Stainless steel and copper caps offers superior durability, and often incorporate a screen mesh to keep animals out and keep sparks off the roof. Most factory-built chimneys incorporate a cap specifically designed to fit that brand of chimney. Next, look for leaks or stains inside the house near the chimney.
Peeling wallpaper, stains on the walls, and dampness near the chimney are sure signs of chimney problems. Sometimes these problems are caused by faulty roof flashing around the chimney. But sometimes the source is the inside of the chimney, and this can mean trouble. Missing or damaged flue liners, interior decay, or excessive condensation in the flue could be the culprit. Consult a chimney professional. If not vented into a properly-sized flue, condensation in the chimney can become a serious hazard.
If you have a gas-fired appliance connected to your chimney it is critical to have the chimney checked periodically by a chimney professional. Odorless, colorless carbon monoxide fumes from improperly-vented gas appliances can be fatal.