When it comes to lighting a fire in the fireplace or heating stove, most homeowners would agree that reducing the risk of fire and carbon monoxide exposure is a top priority. And that’s what a chimney liner does. It gives your masonry chimney another layer of protection that will not only help keep your home and family safe when using the fireplace but prolong the lifespan of your chimney. To help you make the right choice, we have provided answers to the most frequently asked questions about chimney liners.
The cost of a chimney liner depends on several factors, such as the dimensions of the flue, and materials, for example. But homeowners can expect to spend $2,500 to $5,000. Higher quality liners cost more but are more durable and need to be replaced less often.
Many municipal building and fire codes require chimney’s to be lined when connected to solid or liquid fuel heating appliances. And even if your community doesn’t require one, it’s still a good idea to install a chimney liner.
You can determine whether your chimney has a liner by asking your Chimney Sweep. The flue and liner are examined during a chimney inspection. You can also look up the flue inside the fireplace. You may need a flashlight, but if your chimney has a liner, it will be covering the brick masonry. If all you see are bricks and mortar, then it is unlined.
The useful life of a chimney liner depends on the quality of the materials and installation. Typically, cement or clay tile liners can last up to 50 years but require more frequent repairs. UL listed stainless steel liners have a useful life of up to 20 years but are virtually maintenance-free.
A chimney liner protects the interior masonry reducing the risk of fire and exposure to carbon monoxide fumes. First, it protects the interior masonry against the intense heat when using the fireplace or heating stove, reducing the risk of a fire spreading to the combustible parts of your home. Second, it insulates your chimney, improving the performance of your heating appliance. Third, it helps prevent carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes from leaking through the brick masonry.
A chimney liner must be the correct size to function correctly. Your chimney professional will measure the height, width, and diameter of your flue to determine the flue liner size you need for your chimney.
Many older homes have unlined brick chimneys. They were built during a period when most building codes didn’t require them. Today, most building and fire codes require chimney liners, even if you have a brick chimney. And the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) also recommends them.