Anatomy of Your Chimney

Even if you failed anatomy in high school, there’s no reason you can’t learn a thing or two about what makes your chimney… a chimney. Let’s take a look at it from Santa’s perspective and start on the rooftop and learn about the anatomy of your chimney.

What Goes On Inside? 

King Me! Yes, your chimney has a crown. Before you get too excited, it’s not plated in gold or studded with diamonds. This crown may not cost a mint, but it’s worth one—a properly sealed chimney crown protects your chimney by keeping rainwater out of the bricks and mortar. Even a little water can go a long way toward damaging the structure of your chimney or home. If you’ve got a pre-fabricated chimney, you still get the royal treatment, even though it doesn’t go by the same name. A chimney chase is a fabricated piece of metal that encases and protects the chimney in exactly the same way as a crown.

There are many parts working together inside your chimney to ensure proper draft and ventilation of toxic gasses.

There are many parts working together inside your chimney to ensure proper draft and ventilation of toxic gasses.

Put a lid on it. But wait—doesn’t my chimney already have a crown? A chimney cap might sound redundant, though it actually serves as yet another layer of protection against the elements, and not just rain. Chimney caps with screens keep all sorts of things out of your chimney. (You’d be surprised how many little critters would love to call your chimney home.)

You can’t get shots for this kind of flue. A flue is the passageway for exhaust gases and smoke from your fire to journey outside. Depending on the type of fireplace or furnace you have, the flue could be a pipe, duct, or a vent, not just a chimney. Lining is an important part of a flue—without it you’ve got a fire hazard on your hands. Flue lining is usually stainless steel or tile, and serves to protect the chimney and keep the fire’s debris from building up as quickly.

Double agent. The smoke chamber is a sloping wall that sits above the damper and smoke shelf. This area of the chimney is where combustion byproducts (smoke and gases) get compressed while it also bans backdraft from the home (doesn’t include the Baldwin brothers, of course).

Well, that puts a damper on the situation. The chimney damper isn’t a wet blanket, though—it’s kind of like a door inside the chimney. You keep it open when you’ve got a fire going, and closed when you don’t. A closed damper keeps out rain and other unwanted guests.

Books aren’t the only things that get a shelf. The smoke shelf is a flat surface right behind the damper that catches rain water and debris and helps a lot of smoke get through the narrow chimney.

At Home Safe Hearth & Health we aren’t just certified to teach chimney anatomy, we’re also certified and highly qualified to keep it all clean. Don’t forget your chimney’s annual doctor’s appointment. We’ll check to make sure all your chimney’s parts are doing their job, and are able to repair and replace any that aren’t. Schedule your appointment if you live in the Wichita or surrounding areas.

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