Part of ensuring that your chimney is functional and safe is regularly checking that your flue liner is in good condition. If it shows any signs of deterioration whether it be cracks, water damage or missing mortar it is time for you to look into replacing it. What most home owners are not aware of is that a damaged flue liner can cause harmful gases such as carbon monoxide to leak into your home. However, it is important that you understand what type of chimney you have, its fuel type and what liners are available to ensure that you make the right choice.
The first thing you need to understand is chimney liner sizing as this is ultimately the most important aspect when choosing your liner. If you have a liner that is too small or too big you will immediately start to notice problems which can not only damage your home but your health. If it is too small the draft will be poor and you will have issues with condensation as well as gases entering your home. Equally, if it is too big you will find that there will be a faster build-up of creosote and that your fuel is not burning efficiently.
To help you determine which sized liner will be best for your chimney you will first need to look at what type of fuel you use. If you have a wood or coal burning stove then the diameter of the exhaust hole at the top of your stove will guide you with what size liner you will need. Alternatively, if you have a gas or oil fuelled stove then you will need some more information such as height, efficiency, BTU capacity amongst other things. In this instance, it is often easier to ask a professional so that you have all the correct information and know exactly what you are looking for.
Once you know what size liner you are looking for the next step is to look at the different types to find which will allow your chimney to operate as efficiently as possible. There are a variety of types of chimney liners available in the categories of easy flex, heavy flex and rigid liner.
Easy Flex liners are the most widely used type of liner due to their light weight and how easy they are to install. Typically they are a popular option for those looking to install the liner themselves. They are also very strong and durable with a lifetime arguably just as long as any other type of liner.
Heavy Flex liners are more typically used with wood or coal burning stoves as they are built to withstand harsher conditions. It is also flexible like its lighter counterpart but it is usually recommended more for straight chimney as it has a lot of components that must be screwed or riveted together. The walls are also a lot smoother meaning that it is a lot more difficult for any condensation or creosote to build up on the inside walls. However, as mentioned, it is a lot heavier and therefore may be difficult to install without professional help.
Rigid Liners are built to withstand the most extreme and harshest conditions caused by burning solid fuels. It also has the smoothest inside walls out of the three options which make it almost impossible for creosote to build up. In terms of assembly, it must be put together in small sections as it is lowered into the flue which is why it is typically used for straight and short chimneys.
For advice, contact Sooty & Sweeps to discuss your needs