Parts of a Fireplace & Chimney: 10 Things You Need To Know

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I love hanging out with my wife in front of the fireplace. It’s a ritual we do every year on Christmas Eve and it can be done a few hours before or after the holiday.

A few minutes of reading by the fire, some small talk and then a few glasses of wine, some great conversation and a few hours of “hanging out” is a lot of fun, and very romantic. I love it.

couple drinking wine in front of fireplace

When she and I were last talking, she was asking me some technical questions about our wood-burning fireplace and I realized I was pretty…ignorant.

So I did some research to figure out the parts that make up a chimney and fireplace.

Your chimney and fireplace are an essential part of the home, especially during the winter months.

They will help heat your home and keep you and your family warm. During the summer months, the fireplace is nice to look at and can be a decorative addition to the home. it is essential that the fireplace is in proper working order.

Do you really know your chimney?

Do you really know your chimney?

If you are like most people you do know the part of the chimney or how they work. You may light the fire and that is all. You should have a general understanding of how your fireplace works.

Knowing how the chimney works will help keep your home safe (make sure you understand chimney inspections).

Why It’s Important to Know the Parts of a Fireplace and Chimney

The main reason you show know the parts of the fireplace is for safety. Fire and smoke can be dangerous if they get out of hand. You do not want to have a fire in your home so you need to make sure everything is working properly.

Once you know the parts of the chimney you will see that they are easy to care for.

Knowing about the chimney will help you know if something is wrong. You can stop a problem before it starts. This will save you money and protect your home. This will reduce your chance of danger and allow the fireplace to heat your home properly.

10 Basic Parts of the Chimney

Most people think a chimney and fireplace are the same. A fireplace is just part of it. There are other components that will affect the performance. There are some parts that you should know about.

#1. Bricks

The 5 Best Fire Pokers

The bricks are the foundation. If they are in bad shape they pose a safety risk and will compromise the structure of the chimney. If they are not sturdy this can be a major issue.

If they are damaged moisture may get into the home which can lead to the growth of mold and mildew.

#2. Chimney Flue

chimChimney Flue

This is different than the chimney liner. The flue is the vertical shoot that will allow smoke and other material to leave the home. Homeowners with a fireplace are required by law to line the flue.

#3. Liner

Liner

If there is a fire, the chimney liner will prevent it from spreading to the home. Clay tiles are common liners since they are durable. You may need to add a new liner if you are installing a fireplace. The liner needs to fit properly to keep pollutants from getting into the home.

If there are cracks the liner will need to be replaced. Even a small crack can lead to a big issue.

#4. Chimney Cap

Chimney Cap

The chimney cap will prevent elements from getting inside the home. This can include:

  • Snow
  • Rain
  • Hail
  • Sleet
  • Debris
  • Animals and bugs

There is a wire mesh that will act as a spark guard to prevent fires.

#5. Chase Cover

A chase cover is often on prefabricated chimneys. They can be made from:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Galvanized steel
  • Stainless steel

Copper and stainless steel are the most popular choices since they are durable. They come in different colors. If you want to use galvanized steel you need to check it so that it does not rust and lead to other issues.

#6. Chimney Flashing

Chimney Flashing

The chimney flashing can be made from aluminum, vinyl, copper, or steel. It goes where the chimney and the roof meet. This will protect the home from moisture and leaks.

There is more information about a flashing found here.

#7. Chimney Crown

This is sometimes called the chimney wash. It is a slab of cement that will cover the top of the chimney. This will cover the entire top and prevent water from getting in.

#8. Damper or Throat Damper

This is located above the firebox in the throat of the chimney. It will seal the fireplace when it is not being used. This way the hot air does not escape from the home. be sure this is open when the fire is on so the smoke can escape.

The damper must be in good condition. If it is broken smoke will get stuck in the home. it can also make the home drafty.

#9. Smoke chamber

Smoke chamber

The smoke chamber is between the flue and the damper. It compresses byproducts so they are able to exit by the chimney and stay out of the home.

#10. Fireplace Components

Fireplace Components

There are many parts to a fireplace. There are some important parts to know such as the

  • Firebox- this is where the fire burns
  • Hearth- this is the floor of the fireplace
  • Mantel– this is the decorative frame. It used to work as a smoke catcher in early times
  • Glass doors- this is a protective barrier and will allow you to have a good view of the fire.
  • Insert- this is the fireproof box that fits into the fireplace
  • Ash dump- this is in the middle and it allows the ash to be removed (get an ash bucket to make it easier)
  • Ash pit- this is around the base to help catch the ash
  • Cleanout door- this is the door that is behind the fireplace or outside of the home. it allows any and debris to be removed easily.

If you have any questions about how your chimney works are sure to ask the experts at Chimney Sweep.

If you think that there is a problem with part of your chimney or something may not be working correctly you should have it examined by an expert. The chimney sweep can assess your chimney for safety and performance.

It will look at the chimney itself and the stack. Based on the results of this assessment repairs can be made if needed. You can also set up a regular maintenance schedule for your chimney to keep it working properly.

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