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Anatomy of Your Chimney

Taking the time to get to know your chimney can be helpful when it comes to deciding on repairs or maintenance. At Chimney Saver Solutions, chimneys are our second-nature, but we don’t take for granted that you know, so we’d like to take the time to fill you in on the anatomy of your chimney.

Let’s start out with three things that work very well together and the first parts of the chimney you would see if you were looking up from inside the firebox. These are the smoke shelf, the chimney damper, and the smoke chamber. The smoke chamber is like your chimney’s doorway.  You open it up when the fireplace is in use, and close it back up afterward. The flat surface right behind the damper is called the smoke shelf. It helps all the smoke get through the chimney and also catches rain water and debris. If you looked a little higher, you’d see a sloping wall that sits above the damper and smoke shelf. This is the smoke chamber, the area of the chimney where smoke and gases get compressed.

A flue is something you definitely do want your chimney to have, though this kind doesn’t involve coughing, aches or fever. A chimney flue is the passageway for exhaust gases and smoke from your fire to journey outside. Flue lining protects the chimney and keep the fire’s debris from building up as quickly. It’s usually made of stainless steel or tile, and fits inside the flue.

To top it all off, your chimney gets the royal treatment. Though it might not be terribly glamorous, all masonry chimneys wear a crown. And it’s almost as important as the kind worn by a king. A properly slanted and sealed chimney crown protects your chimney by keeping rainwater out of the bricks and mortar. Water is one of the top-rated enemies of chimneys—it can wreak havoc on your chimney and the structure of your home.  Modern-built chimneys are equipped with one, too—only in their case it’s called a chimney chase, and is a fabricated piece of metal that encases and protects the chimney in exactly the same way as a crown.

Now that we’re on the roof, let’s look at the last thing on the list: a chimney cap. Now before you throw your hands up and say, “Wait a minute, my chimney already has a crown!” remember that water isn’t the only thing that tries to get through the cracks. There are all kinds of creatures and natural debris that love diving down into the depths of your chimney, and a chimney cap is just the guy for the job. A screened cap will keep just about everything out of your chimney, and will also serve as an extra barrier against that old nemesis, water.

Help your chimney to get an A+ in anatomy by having it inspected and cleaned annually. We’re certified to inspect and sweep your chimney, and if your chimney doesn’t pass with flying colors, we’re able to repair and rebuild the parts that need help. We make it easy—you can either call us at 804-440-5000 or schedule your appointment online.

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