Residential Chimney

Beginners Guide to Understanding a Residential Chimney in Arlington, VA

January 29, 2021

The fireplace and chimney are necessary parts of most homes in Arlington, VA. They offer heat in winter while adding a glowing aesthetic to our houses. But most people don’t know all the parts of a chimney. As you read this guide, you’ll learn about the different components of a residential chimney fuel and how to ensure it works as it should.

The Chimney Cap

The chimney cap is the part of the system that prevents outdoor elements such as rain, sleet, debris, snow, downdraft and animals from entering your house. It also has a wire mesh that prevents roof fires by acting as a spark arrester.

The Bricks and Chimney Liner

The bricks form a critical part of the chimney that needs proper maintenance to prevent damage to its structural integrity. The bricks need to be in good condition to prevent moisture from getting into your home and causing damage.

The residential chimney liner is the part that confines fire to the chimney and prevents it from spreading to your house. Manufacturers use clay to make the liners because it’s a long-lasting material.

However, after a while, the liner may develop cracks, causing indoor pollution. When this happens, you’ll need a professional to repair them.

The Chase Covers

The chimney chase cover is the part that covers the opening of a prefabricated chimney. These covers usually consist of copper, stainless steel, aluminum or galvanized steel, with stainless steel and copper being the most popular due to durability. Homeowners may also prefer aluminum chase covers for their various colors.

The Chimney Flash and Crown

The flash is the part of the chimney that protects your house and roof from leakage and moisture. The flash is often made of copper, vinyl or steel. It usually sits at the top where the roof and the chimney meet. Over time, the chimney flash will need repairs to prevent moisture from damaging your home’s ceiling.

The chimney crown, also known as its wash, is a slab of metal, concrete or stone that covers the chimney. It prevents water from entering your fireplace. Unlike the chimney cap that only covers the flue, the chimney wash covers the entire top of your chimney.

The Fireplace Dampers

Located at the throat of your residential chimney right above the firebox, these are also known as throat dampers. We use them to prevent heated air from escaping through the chimney when the fireplace isn’t in use. When using the fireplace, ensure that the throat dampers are open to allow smoke to leave the house.

Maintaining and repairing chimney dampers is crucial for your health and safety. A broken throat dumper will prevent the smoke from escaping. As a result, it won’t have anywhere to go except back into the room.

The Smoke Chamber

The smoke chamber is a part located between the throat dumpers and the flue. It compresses the byproducts to allow them to exit through the chimney instead of re-entering the house. A well-maintained chamber will also help keep your house tidy.

The Fireplace Components

As a homeowner, the main reason you need to know the chimney system’s components is safety. With this knowledge, you can take care of the system and protect your property and loved ones. The fireplace components include:

  • Firebox: The place where the fire burns.
  • Mantel: The decorative part located above the fireplace opening.
  • Hearth: The floor of the fireplace.
  • Fireplace insert: A fireproof box placed in the fireplace.
  • Ash pit: The bottom of the fireplace, used to catch ash.
  • Ash dump: The door located at the middle that allows you to remove ash.

The glass door is the protective glass barrier that allows you to view the burning flame. Other parts are the cleanout opening, which is the chimney’s door behind your fireplace and outside your house, allowing you to clean debris from your fireplace.

If any part of your residential chimney isn’t functioning well, always seek an expert’s opinion. Contact our team at Rooftop Chimney Sweeps to evaluate your chimney’s performance and make any necessary repairs.

Image provided by iStock

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