Chimney Caps and Chimney Liners

Your chimney and fireplace as a heating system has two primary zones. The indoor zone, which is the heating zone consisting of the fireplace. And then the outdoor zone consisting of the chimney, which is essentially the exhaust for your fireplace.

The chimney system has two primary features. The chimney cap, which appears as the stainless steal or copper lid placed on top of chimneys. Then there is the liner, which lines the entire length of the flue in clay or steal and protects it from the elements, while helping eject the gases from the fireplace. 

These two pieces play a crucial role in protecting your chimney from time, the elements, and use. If one or both are not functioning as they should it could spell disaster for your chimney system. 

Luckily these two pieces can easily be inspected by a trained professional chimney inspector. That’s something Philadelphia Chimney Sweep has a lot of – trained professionals. If you feel like your system needs to be inspected, have us take a look and know you have the best in south east Pennsylvania working on your chimney.    

Chimney Caps

Chimney Caps are the lids you see placed on top of chimneys. You’ll see them as silver, which is either stainless steel or aluminum, or a brown color, which is copper. Stainless steel and copper is preferred since they are more weather resistant and may come with a lifetime warranty – this is the preferred choice here in Pennsylvania. 

Ideally chimneys caps serve two primary functions. We say ideally because all chimney caps are different. Some aren’t designed to protect the crown while a cap not designed for your chimney may not protect at all. 

A proper Chimney cap should:   

1. Protect the chimney masonry or crown of the chimney.

2. Protect the inside of the chimney, which in this case is the flue liner.

Together they save your chimney from a lot of potential damage and future expense out of your pocket. 

A good Chimney cap functions and provides protection in two ways. It keeps things from coming in and allows other things to come out. 

When having a chimney cap installed always opt for one with screen sides. The screen will prevent rodents and birds, and other debris from entering your home or chimney. Here at Philadelphia Chimney Sweep we always install chimney caps with screens. 

It’s important to have a chimney cap installed that is designed for your system. An improper lid can affect draft. Poor draft prevents gasses from the fire – primarily carbon monoxide – from exiting the chimney. This can be dangerous as those gasses can enter the home and cause nausea and other more serious problems. Chimney inspections will reveal an improperly installed chimney cap. 

Plus, the right cap will better protect the chimney crown, made from concrete or mortar, from deterioration. This is a problem area for chimneys since they take the brunt of the environment.    

A good chimney cap will protect the flue liner. This is the very basic of fundamental purpose that a cap provides a chimney.       

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This Philadelphia building has two stainless steel chimney liners and chimney caps coming out of a slanted roof made from flat red tiles.

Chimney Liners

What are chimney liners? and why are they important? Very simply put, chimney liners protect the exterior of your chimney – the exposed brick – from heat and they allow the gasses from the fire to escape more easily. 

Let’s look at this system.

When we imagine a chimney we may picture the red brick square monolith coming out of the house. If there is some advanced knowledge of chimneys perhaps this mental image includes a chimney cap. That’s pretty much it every persons understanding of a chimney system. 

Reality is different though. 

Chimneys have liners, at least all well built and maintained chimneys do. These liners can be red ceramic or stainless steal. Because smoke coming from a fire can be extremely hot, it can’t come in direct contact with brick or masonry because it will cause cracks and damage over time. To combat this flues are lined with ceramics or stainless steal protect the outside chimney. 

The other benefit of these liners is that they help the flow of gasses from the fire to the outside. 

Most flues are stainless steel as they are more common and modern. The problem with ceramic liners is that if they fail overtime and need to be replaced the entire chimney needs to be torn apart and rebuilt. This is because flue tiles come in short sections that need to be perfectly alined and glued together to works properly. This is an impossible feat on a 15 foot chimney. When you flue liner needs to be replaced it will be done with a stainless steel liner since it is so much more economical.