Should You Install Your Chimney Liner Yourself?
Many older homes have maintenance needs that newer homes don't. This includes the chimney. If you live in a house that was built before the 1940′s, your chimney was probably built without a clay tile liner. Newer homes are typically built with prefabricated metal chimneys rather than with traditional brick and mortar ones. Even though your chimney is older and different, it is critical that the flue not have any damage that could allow your chimney to leak.
What is the flue?
The flu is the opening running up the inside of the chimney that carries smoke and combustion gases out of the building. It's no wonder this is so important!
How do I know if there is a problem?
If an inspection by a qualified chimney professional reveals problems, you may need to have a new chimney liner installed. In old unlined chimneys, missing or cracked bricks or mortar can make the chimney leak. That is why it needs to be checked once a year. Don't worry if your inspector finds damage. Most damage can either easily be repaired or replaced.
Can I replace it myself?
If you are handy with tools and have a good understanding of how fireplaces and chimneys work, you may be able to do most of the liner work yourself. That being said, you'll probably need a helper. An assistant will be incredibly helpful when it comes to simple parts of the job, like making sure it's straight.
Is there anything else to consider?
Yes! A little know-how and the right tools are only the beginning. The first thing you need to do is check your local building and fire safety codes. In some areas, you will be required to have a licensed chimney specialist install a new liner installation for you. If you find that it is permissible for you to do your own chimney work, you still might decide it is better to let an expert do it. After all, this isn't the right task to experiment and see if you can "figure it out." Replacing a chimney liner requires precision work under potentially dangerous conditions. You'll need to be able to get up on and walk around on your roof. You'll also need to mess around inside your fireplace and on both ends of your chimney. If a metal chimney liner is being installed, you will be cutting sharp metal and making precise fittings of joints, bends, and caps. The work has to be completed correctly or the flue will not work well and could actually be more dangerous than the existing liner!
Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you have to. The decision is yours! The most important thing is to order your needed chimney liner and have it installed. This is a safety issue and not something to put off any longer, whether or not you will be the person doing the installation.