Protective Components of Your Chimney & The Importance of Maintenance

Your chimney is one of the most vital protective components of your home. Simply put, the impressive masonry structure allows you to safely operate your fireplace or heating stove on those frigid winter days in the Kansas City area. There are also several chimney components when properly maintained and inspected, that will prolong its lifespan.

Chimney Cap, Kansas City KS

Chimney Cap

The chimney cap is not only an essential protective component of your chimney but also its first line of defense against moisture intrusion. The chimney cap should also have a wire mesh screen to prevent leaves, debris, animals, and pests from obstructing the flue. Many chimney caps also have a spark arrest feature to keep hot embers from landing on the roof.

Chimney Crown

Another protective component is the chimney crown, a concrete slab that tops the entire masonry chimney. It typically has a slope and drip edge to deflect precipitation away from the structure to protect the interior masonry from water-related damage. However, environmental conditions, house settling, and age can cause cracks in the surface where moisture can leak in the chimney. In addition, water leaks can damage other protective components inside your chimney, including the flue, flue liner, and damper.

The Flue

The flue provides a passageway for the smoke and fumes to exit the home when you’re using the fireplace or heating stove. In addition, it contains the heat and flames inside the chimney, so it doesn’t spread to other components inside the chimney and nearby combustible building materials. Thus, reducing the risk of fire and carbon monoxide exposure.

Flue Liner

The flue liner is another critical protective component of your chimney. The flue liner, typically comprised of clay tile, cast in place cement or stainless steel, insulates the flue protecting the interior masonry from the intense heat, flames, and hot embers in the flue. If your chimney doesn’t have a flue liner or is cracked or damaged, the extreme heat or a chimney fire can damage the brickwork allowing smoke and fumes to spread throughout your house, increasing the risk of fire and exposure to smoke and toxic fumes.

Chimney Damper, Kansas City MOChimney Damper

The chimney damper is a mechanical device that regulates the airflow in the chimney and protects the firebox from moisture intrusion when you’re not using the fireplace. Made of iron or heavy gauge steel with a rubber gasket for an airtight seal, it also increases energy efficiency preventing outside air from mixing with the conditioned indoor air. When the damper or gasket is damaged, water can leak in the fireplace and damage the firebrick. Your fireplace will also feel drafty, and you may also notice increased energy costs.

Chimney Repairs in Kansas City

Now that you have a better understanding of the protective components of your chimney, you can understand why it’s so important to keep up with annual chimney inspections and regular chimney cleanings. Call (913) 236-7141 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with a certified chimney technician today!