303-751-6889

 Denver Metro Chimney Clean and Repair Services


 Chimneys Are Made to Protect You

A chimney is a structure made of masonry or metal, which surrounds
and supports a flue or multiple flues that vent products of combustion
from gas, oil, or solid fuel appliances or fireplaces.
The flue, then, is the inner part of the chimney, the part that actually
contains and vents the products of combustion. Flues can be made of clay,
as in the case of most masonry chimneys, or of metal, as in the case of
prefabricated or manufactured chimneys. One way to think of a chimney
and flue within it is to think of it as a structure built to protect you.
That is an important function of all chimneys no matter what kind of
appliance or fireplace they serve.

Remember, the main purpose of a chimney is to vent the products of
combustion from your home. That function is crucial because the products of
combustion contain hazardous and noxious gasses. One of the hazardous gasses
your chimney needs to remove from your home is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide
is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can cause serious illness or death
when it is present in sufficient amounts.

It is responsible for hundreds of deaths and countless~ illnesses every year
in homes across America. In many cases carbon monoxide in the home originates
in a furnace of other burning appliance and finds its way into the house
due to inadequate venting.

 

What causes inadequate venting

There are several possibilities. One is that the flue has become blocked.
The blockage can come from debris falling into the chimney due to a deteriorating 
masonry chimney, or, it may be the result of nests built there by animals or birds. 
Carbon monoxide can also seep into the house through cracks or holes in flues 
and chimneys that moisture, chemical residue, or chimney fires have damaged.


The other important function of chimneys, especially those serving solid
fuel burning appliances like wood stoves or fireplaces, is to keep excessive
heat from combustible materials that surround the chimney. Heat or flames from
a chimney fire can escape through cracks in the clay flue liner or through
damaged or missing mortar joints of a chimney.

They can then ignite surrounding combustible framing materials of a house.
Chimney fires occur within the structure of the chimney itself.
They happen when hot flue gasses or cinders ignite creosote accumulated on
the walls of an unclean chimney flue. Creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood.

It is highly flammable and will accumulate on the inner walls of the flue under
certain burning conditions. Even without the occurrence of a chimney fire,
framing materials surrounding a chimney can have their molecular structure
altered and become more flammable when exposed to excessive
heat over long periods of time.


This process is known as pyrolysis. Once wood is sufficiently pyrolized it can ignite at
relatively low temperatures and becomes a significant fire hazard.

Therefore, a well structured chimney and flue are designed to offer protection to your
family and home from both the dangers of noxious gasses such as carbon monoxide,
and from the high levels of heat present in the flue gasses of solid fuel burning
appliances and fireplaces. Understand they are like all structures,they must receive
regular inspections and maintenance in order to maintain their integrity
and to continue doing their job.


How To Maintain a Properly Functioning Chimney

It is easy to understand from the information above why it is strongly recommended
that all flues and chimneys in use should receive annual inspections. In fact,
you may want to consider more frequent inspections for chimneys and flues that
receive heavy use, especially those venting hotter flue gasses that contain creosote
and soot produced by solid fuel burning fires. A proper inspection of your chimney
by a qualified chimney professional should include a thorough examination of the
external structure to look for signs of deterioration or weakness.

Exterior staining due to flue gasses seeping through the chimney structure,
broken or spalled bricks, and deterioration of mortar joints are all signs that
your chimney may need repair. A proper evaluation should also include a visual
inspection of the flue inside the chimney. Ideally, that internal inspection should
be done with a video inspection device. Such devices allow chimney professionals
to detect even small cracks in the chimney liner that may not be seen by the naked eye.  
According to the National Fire Protection Agency code, cracked chimney liners
constitute a significant safety hazard and must be replaced.

All connections from the burning appliance to the chimney should also be
thoroughly inspected. If the inspections described above indicate the
possibility of a chimney deficiency, then a more thorough inspection of the
chimney and the structural materials surrounding it may be required.

However, regular annual inspections by a qualified chimney professional should
go a long way towards heading off serious chimney problems and the need for expensive repairs. It is important to note, for an inspection to yield the best results, the flues
to be inspected will need to be cleaned first.

Otherwise , soot, creosote, or other residue might mask physical
problems with the flue or flue liner.

 

"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value". –Albert Einstein

 

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