The recommended liner for today’s chimney is a stainless steel device that protects it from combustion byproducts, such as corrosion and heat.
Chimney liners serve three primary purposes:
- Protects the home from heat—unlined chimneys tend to allow heat to move to rapidly through it, often allowing nearby woodwork to catch fire.
- Protects the masonry from the corrosive byproducts of combustion—gases penetrating brick and mortar reduce the life of the chimney itself. The acidic nature of flue gases eat away at the mortar inside of the chimney causing erosion which in turn causes reactions with the combustibles lining the chimney walls. Toxic gases then filter back into the home itself—most chiefly among them, carbon monoxide.
- Provides the correctly-sized flue for optimum efficiency—a flue is designed to allow all that is harmful (varying types of combustibles) to escape the house. A liner not of the proper dimensions often leads to an excess of creosote and carbon monoxide.
A stainless steel chimney liner is used primarily in wood-burning fireplaces, gas/oil furnaces and wood stoves. The aluminum variety of chimney liner is cheaper than its steel counterpart, but is used mainly in gas furnaces and hot water tanks—they are not intended for use in wood-burning fireplaces, gas/oil furnaces and wood stoves.
A stainless steel chimney liner is seen as an upgrade or improvement to previously existing liners. When new liners are installed they are usually coupled with a high temperature withstanding insulation that further protects the masonry from further damage.
If you are having issues with a crumbling masonry-based chimney or gases possibly escaping back into your home (instead of out of it), at a minimum you should consider having your chimney cleaned. The chimney sweep will be able to assess preliminary level issues or determine what the problems are. Should a cleaning not determine what is at issue within your chimney liner, Guardian Chimney also offers a Level 2 chimney inspection in which a camera is dropped down your existing flue to dig deeper into and identify the culprit behind your ill-performing chimney.