Does my chimney need lining?

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There are a number of reasons why your chimney or flue might need lining. Some you will be familiar with and some, you may not. Not yet at least, anyway…

The main reason we get called out to inspect chimneys and flues is because the client, or the clients neighbour in some cases, has noticed signs of smoke leakage into their property. The reason this happens is that the original render lining that was applied when the chimney was built has corroded away over the years, leaving gaps for smoke to escape. In more severe cases, the masonry underneath may have corroded too and collapsed in places which in turn could cause blockages, or maybe, the chimney just wasn’t built very well in the first place. The tell-tale signs generally consist of the following:

  • A strong odour of smoke in other rooms when having a fire.
  • A haze that can be seen filling the room.
  • Smoke staining that is usually seen along skirting boards or underneath covings at ceiling height.
  • Crumbling masonry in the fire opening.
  • Smoke leaking out of the sides of the chimney stack on the roof.
  • Smoke exhausting out of more than 1 chimney pot.

The points above apply mainly to solid-fuel use, as the problem is more apparent to the unsuspecting victim. Gas is a different story, as once burnt, the exhaust gasses are almost undetectable. This is why it is so important to get your chimney checked regularly by a professional along with having all your wits about you.

Quite often we will get called out even though the chimney appears to be working properly with no apparent smoke leakages. The reported problem, or more of a nuisance at this stage, is what we call “showering”. This is where the original render lining is beginning to crumble and “shower” down into the fire opening. Providing the flue still proves to be gas tight, the re-lining of your chimney is not urgent, however, you may want to add this to your everlasting list of “things to do” as it will only get worse. Lining your chimney at this stage could be considered a pro-active approach to the inevitable and likely to save you a load of hassle in the future. Big problems generally are expensive problems. We’ve all heard it said a thousand times or more but prevention really is better than cure..

As im sure you are aware, wood burning stoves are all the rage at the moment and we often are asked the question: “my chimney has been checked and all seems ok, do I need it lined?” The answer is, it does not have to be lined providing it has proved to be gas tight by a professional, to which their advice should be accompanied by a certificate. However, there are a few other reasons you may still want to consider lining your chimney as the additional cost, relative to the overall cost of the job should be reasonably inexpensive. Some of the reasons for your consideration are:

  • Stoves are designed to work off much smaller flues/ chimneys than open fires, it’s part of what makes them so efficient.
  • It’s acting as protection to the existing masonry flue, saving you bigger problems later on.
  • They are much easier for chimney sweeps to clean.
  • They can come with up to 25 year guarantees, meaning you’ll have comeback in the event of product failure.
  • Overall peace of mind.

This post may not make you a chimney expert, but it will give you an idea of what to look out for and hopefully keep you safe.

Remember, if you are unsure, call an expert…

 

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