Chimney liners serve a very important purpose in your fireplace. Liners help accomplish what most masonry chimneys are incapable of doing on their own – keeping the heat from the flue gases inside the chimney and not leaking into the exterior of your home.
Furthermore, chimney liners also are crucial for fire safety. The liner prevents the chimney from overheating and scorching nearby combustibles which could cause a fire inside the home.
As a result, chimney liners are incredibly important in making sure you and your family stay safe. Most chimney liners only make it 15 to 20 years, given the amount of abuse they endure. The time frame does vary based on the type of chimney liner, as well as the amount of use.
Let’s dive into some more specifics in order to learn more about when it’s time to replace your chimney liner.
Chimney liners are also referred to as a flue lining. It is defined as a “clay, ceramic, or metal conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.”
It is important to mention that building codes vary from state to state, as well as local municipality standards. However, the general theme is that chimney liners are required in modern buildings. It has been that way for over a century now as most fire codes mandate chimney liners.
Additionally, chimney liners are required to get inspected once a year. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), fireplaces need to have the liner cleaned to about ⅛” of creosote and/or soot buildup.
As a result, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has just went ahead and recommended that you get your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once every year. Some homeowners opt to clean the fireplace twice a year if they use it heavily, and as the primary means for heating inside the home.
Chimney liners serve three very important functions:
The National Bureau of Standards previously determined in the 1940s that chimney liners are essential to keeping a building up to code and ensuring fire safety. Unlined chimneys, or chimneys with a poor quality liner are considered unsafe and a major fire hazard.
As a result, your goal is to make sure your chimney liner passes inspections each year. You can keep up with maintenance by scheduling a fireplace cleaning at least once a year. Regardless of what you try to do to keep your chimney in excellent condition – the liner is bound to wear down.
The average lifespan of a chimney liner is 15 to 20 years. After two decades you will probably need to get the entire liner replaced to make sure it’s still up to code and not a serious fire risk.
Though the general time frame is 15 to 20 years it’s important to note that there are factors that can shorten the lifespan or improve it. It does depend on the type of chimney liner. Stainless steel flue liners have a much longer lifespan at about 15 to 20 years compared to clay tile liners and cast-in-place liners.
Meanwhile, some of the cheapest chimney liners may need substantial repairs or a complete replacement in as little as five years.
There is also the factors on how well the chimney has been treated. If you just bought an old home with a traditional fireplace then there’s a fair chance it has been neglected. You have no idea when was the last time it was used or even inspected.
You also don’t know if the fireplace has been regularly maintained and cleaned at least once a year. So new homeowners of a structure with a fireplace are sometimes in for a rude awakening.
Now that you know the type of chimney liner can substantially dictate how long it takes before you need to replace the liner, let’s look at the different styles in more detail:
If you inherited a bad chimney liner you may have no choice but to replace it immediately. However, depending on the type of liner you select you can depend on 15 years of service, potentially more if you pay for high-quality clay tile or cast-in-place concrete liners.
A certified CSIA chimney professional can inspect the conditions of your fireplace and let you know if any repairs or complete replacement is necessary.
When it comes to chimney liner replacement, the clear choice is Early Times. We have served Chicago and suburbs for over 30 years. Our unbelievable value, support, and service keeps homeowners happy with a chimney liner replacement from Early Times. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.
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