Are there hidden dangers lurking in your chimney’s flue? Not sure? Well, if you are not a trained and certified chimney expert that uses high-definition video equipment to inspect your chimney, you are likely not going to know…. which is bad. If these types of issues go undetected, they are not only going to impact the efficiency of your chimney, they can also be very dangerous.
What you can’t see, can hurt you…
Gaps Between Flue Tiles
The combustion process creates gases that can contain creosote/soot, carbon monoxide and corrosive chemicals. The purpose of your chimney is to safely vent these hazardous flue gases from your home. Flue tiles are typically sealed with mortar to keep these gases within the flue. But over time, the mixture of heat, moisture and chemicals will erode the mortar, leaving gaps or voids between flue tiles.
Cracked Flue Tiles
Flue tiles can crack due to “sudden occurrences” such as a previous chimney fire, lightning strike, or seismic event. Cracks may also be caused by poor workmanship or the ongoing settling of your home.
Flaking Flue Tiles
Years of exposure to corrosive chemicals and moisture from combustion can attack clay flue tiles, causing pieces of the flue liner to flake off or delaminate, a process called spalling.
How These Hidden Dangers Can Affect You
Home Fires and Health Risks
These defects, no matter how small, can begin a process that will further erode the chimney and can pose a threat to your family’s health. When heat, moisture and gases escape through gaps and cracks in your chimney, they can deteriorate your chimney from the inside out.
More importantly, the gaps and cracks can cause health risks, by allowing poisonous gases to escape into your home. Combustible creosote or soot can also escape through these openings and build up outside the flue liner. If the creosote were to catch fire in this area of your chimney, serious damage can occur, because the fire can no longer be contained within the flue.
Pieces of flue tile that flake off due to spalling can form dangerous blockages within your chimney.
Loss of Efficiency
Chimneys, to work correctly and efficiently, must be gas tight and free of gaps and cracks. Gases rising up through your chimney are similar to liquid being sipped through a straw. If the straw has a crack or hole in it the liquid will not flow effectively through it.
Gaps and cracks allow excess air into your chimney, slow the updraft and make it harder for smoke and gases to rise up and out. Hence, the fireplace, woodstove or furnace will perform poorly, resulting in the loss of heat efficiency.
How to Restore Your Chimney
While there are different methods to repair your chimney, one of the best ways to restore your chimney is with a product called HeatShield®. It is a specially formulated “Cerfractory®” sealant material that restores the integrity of your chimney’s flue to vent hazardous flue gases from your home. It eliminates the dangers in your chimney caused by gaps, cracks, and spalling for years to come. By using either the Repair System or the CeCure® Sleeve Relining System (depending on the defects found) your chimney will be restored to its original peak level of safety and efficiency.