With the chimney being one of the most neglected areas of the home, it's crucial for homeowners to understand the necessary maintenance so it functions properly and safely. The problem with chimney systems being neglected is that many homeowners don't understand what a complex system it has become over the years.

Before every winter, you want to have a certified chimney sweep come and inspect your fireplace if you sense that anything is wrong, or even if it just needs a thorough cleaning.

Understanding the Anatomy of Your Chimney

Your chimney has several components to it, not all of which you need to know how to fix, but in the event that something goes wrong, it'd be nice to guide your certified chimney sweep in the right direction.

  • Smoke Chamber - as one of the more neglected parts of the chimney system, the smoke chamber is where a majority of chimney fires begin. In order to keep this part of your chimney clean so no fires ignite, you want to make sure you have a professional take a look at it to make sure it's smoothed out so the smoke can escape out of the fireplace rather than through cracks or gaps.
  • Smoke Shelf - The main purpose of the smoke shelf is to collect the debris and rain that fall around the top of your chimney. It also helps in preventing downdrafts that can cause the smoke to billow into your home.
  • Chimney Damper - Used to keep the air out of your home when the chimney is off, it's crucial to make sure the damper is open when you begin to build a fire, otherwise you'll start a fire in your home.
  • Chimney Flue - The flue is where all the gases and combustibles within the fire can safely escape your home and out the top of the chimney.
  • Chimney Liner - Like the flue, the liner assists in safely removing the gas, smoke, and other particles from your home. Although they're non-combustible, it's important to make sure the chimney liner isn't cracked and hasn't deteriorated in any way to ensure that the smoke can flow out of your home appropriately.
  • Chimney Crown - With the goal of keeping your chimney free from weather related damages, the chimney crown helps with avoiding any damages from moisture that could affect the interior of the chimney leaving you with expensive repairs.
  • Chimney Chase - If you have a factory made chimney, there's a good chance your chimney has a metal casing which is referred to as the chase. However, if you have a masonry chimney, you most likely don't have a chase that has been installed.
  • Chimney Cap - As another component of the chimney that keeps water and debris from entering down the chute, we recommend that you invest in one of these if you don't already have one because as an inexpensive product, it can save you from spending thousands of dollars on repairs.