Tips on How to Take Care of Your Chimney Liner

Jun 24, 2024

A chimney liner serves as a protective barrier between the heat, gases, and byproducts of combustion and the chimney walls. Proper care and maintenance of your chimney liner are important for the safety and efficiency of your fireplace or heating system.

Here are a few valuable tips on caring for your chimney liner.

Schedule Regular Inspections

One of the most important steps in maintaining your chimney liner is scheduling regular inspections. A certified chimney professional should inspect your chimney and liner at least once a year. During the inspection, the professional will check for any signs of damage, such as cracks, deterioration, or creosote buildup. Early detection of issues can prevent costly repairs and ensure your chimney liner remains in good condition.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning helps maintain your chimney liner. Over time, creosote and soot can accumulate on the liner, increasing the risk of chimney fires. A professional chimney sweep can remove this buildup, keeping your liner clean and safe. Depending on how often you use your fireplace, you may need to schedule cleaning more frequently, especially if you burn a lot of wood.

Repair Damages Promptly

If your chimney liner shows signs of damage, such as cracks or corrosion, address these issues promptly. Ignoring damage can lead to further deterioration and pose a safety hazard. A chimney professional can repair or replace the liner as needed. 

Use the Right Fuel

The type of fuel you use in your fireplace or stove can impact the condition of your chimney liner. Burning oak is a smart choice, as it produces less creosote and burns more efficiently. Avoid burning wet wood, as it generates more creosote and can accelerate the buildup on your liner. Also, refrain from burning household trash, plastics, or other materials that can produce harmful byproducts and damage your liner.

Install a Chimney Cap

A chimney cap is a valuable addition to your chimney system. It prevents debris, animals, and moisture from entering the chimney, which can damage the liner. A cap also helps to keep sparks and embers from escaping the chimney, reducing the risk of fires. Check that your chimney cap is in good condition and free from blockages.

Monitor for Warning Signs

Identifying the warning signs can help you address issues with your chimney liner early. Some signs to watch include a strong, unpleasant odor coming from the chimney, smoke backing up into the room, or a visible creosote buildup. If you notice these signs, contact a chimney professional immediately for an inspection and necessary repairs.

Tailored Care for Various Liner Materials

Different liner materials have varying maintenance needs:

  • Stainless Steel Liners: These durable liners are corrosion-resistant and require minimal maintenance. However, regular cleaning is still needed to remove creosote buildup.
  • Clay Tile Liners: While traditional, clay tile liners are susceptible to cracking and deterioration over time. A professional inspection can identify any issues that need addressing.
  • Cast-in-Place Liners: These liners are typically made of concrete and are very durable. However, they can be more prone to cracking due to expansion and contraction, so regular inspections are essential.

Keep your home safe and efficient with Chimney Clean Company, Inc. Schedule your annual chimney inspection and cleaning today to prevent costly repairs and potential hazards. Our certified professionals can keep your chimney in peak condition. Contact us now to book an appointment and breathe easier knowing your home is protected.

Smoking back

There are many fireplaces that seem to smoke back into the house no matter what is done. In our experience, the most common cause is that the fireplace simply needs to be cleaned. This is especially likely if the fireplace has gotten worse over time, that is, the smoking back is worse now than it used to be.

Several other possible causes of smoking back are problems with the damper, chimney cap, grate, firewood, or structural problems with the chimney itself. At Chimney Clean Company, we do a full inspection with every cleaning, or we can also do just the inspection if the chimney doesn’t need to be cleaned. This inspection is designed to reveal any causes of smoking back.

Broken chimneys

In the Bay Area, many chimneys were broken in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Usually, these chimneys are broken at or near the roof line, although sometimes they can be broken further down, even at the ground level.

We are fully licensed masonry contractors. We rebuild broken chimneys. If they are broken at the roof line, this usually entails taking the chimney part of the way down brick by brick, installing steel reinforcing bars, getting an inspection from a city inspector, then rebuilding the chimney back up around the steel rebar.

Missing mortar or damaged bricks

Over time, many chimneys develop places that are missing mortar between bricks, or damaged bricks, either inside the firebox or on the outside of the chimney. These areas can usually be repaired, either by replacing the missing mortar or replacing the bricks themselves. Items such as these can be dangerous because they can allow flames, sparks or hot gases to enter the structure of the house.

Water entry

Sometimes the metal that seals the chimney at the roof, called “flashing”, will come loose or develop leaks. In this case, water sometimes comes into the ceiling of the room and causes water spots and stains on the sheet rock. This flashing should be repaired before the water causes more damage.