I recently read some comments from homeowners about what a difference it made when they got their chimney relined.

Better Draft

One guy had such bad drafting problems that he was going to get rid of his woodstove but then decided to try the liner. It helped so much that his stove now has a very strong draft and he wouldn’t dream of parting with it.

In this situation the homeowner had an oversized masonry flue. When the flue is too large for the appliance the draft slows down, allowing the flue gases to cool as they move through this “too large” area. Droplets of creosote may condense out of the smoke and stick to walls of the flue along the way. If the draft is slow, then the appliance won’t burn well either.

When an insulated liner was put in this flue, it was sized properly for the appliance. The flue warmed up more quickly; draft was established sooner and was strong enough for the homeowner to now need to damp it down slightly.

Burn Less Fuel

Another person who had their chimney relined said that they burn less wood as a result of their new insulated liner. A woodstove combined with a too large flue will have a sluggish draft. It takes more wood to heat the stove up and keep the draft established. When a properly sized insulated liner is installed it right-sizes the installation and less wood is required.

It’s the same principle for gas or oil fired appliances. However, you will be more likely to notice a problem if a gas appliance is being vented into a large chimney. For every cubic foot of gas burned, the flue gases carry approximately two cubic feet of
water vapor. If everything is sized properly this water vapor usually exits the flue in the form of steam. If the flue is too large and cools down too quickly, the result can be moisture that appears in the form of white staining, peeling wallpaper, wet plaster or drywall and even mold.

Another benefit of an insulated liner, especially for oil and gas, is that when these appliances cycle off the insulated liner will stay warmer longer. This results in shorter warm up time, a warmer flue and more efficiency.

Safety

The most important reason for relining is safety. A flue that is not properly sized can result in venting problems. If the chimney is unlined it could be deemed unsafe to use. Codes and standards were developed to address problems with existing structures to prevent future problems with new construction. If you can get your chimney relined and upgraded it will make it a lot safer for you and your family.

Value

Bringing your chimney up to code is also a wise investment. A liner provides a barrier between the flue gases and the chimney structure. This helps to protect the chimney and walls against the chimney from water or heat damage. In fact, most building codes require a chimney to be brought up to code if the home is sold. Selling a home with a lined flue will add more value to the home.

For instance, a working and up-to-code fireplace may increase the value of a home approximately $5000-$10,000 or more. But if the fireplace has a broken or damaged flue and isn’t in working condition the home value may be decreased. If the seller installs a liner and the fireplace is now in working condition, the increased value of the fireplace may get your money back and then some.

Chimneys should be lined for many different reasons. Investment in a chimney liner may pay off by increasing energy efficiency and the value of your home. In most cases you will save money on future repairs. Your chimney professional can provide you with the benefits specific to your chimney situation.

Karen Lamansky has been involved with the hearth industry for over 20 years and is the author of “Fireplace Design Ideas” published by Creative Homeowner.

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