Familiarize Yourself with the Parts and Elements of Your Chimney and Fireplace

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The two most common types of chimneys are masonry and stainless steel. Each has a very important function to perform, and they require cleaning at least once per year with occasional use. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that every chimney be professionally inspected every year, even if it is never used. Structural damage is not always easily visible and often discovered during a routine inspection. Here are the parts of the chimney and fireplace that our CSIA Certified chimney sweeps inspect during every inspection.

  • Cap – Usually made of metal and rests atop the chimney. Damage is generally visible via visual inspection.
  • Crown – The crown is at the top of the chimney structure just below the cap.
  • Flashing – Chimney flashing is installed where the chimney enters the home. This protects the home from leaks and must be maintained.
  • Chase – The area just below the crown.
  • Flue – The smooth lining on the inside of the chimney. This is the area we clean the most frequently because it collects creosote.
  • Smoke Chamber – Where the smoke begins to enter the flue and chimney body.
  • Smoke Shelf – Where smoke leaves the fireplace to enter the smoke chamber.
  • Damper Assembly – The damper allows complete control of heat for the room and smoke as it escapes through the chimney.
  • Fireplace Face – The area around the opening of the firebox.
  • Firebrick – The bricks that line the interior of the firebox and provide protection to the outer combustible wall against heat damage and effectively push, or radiate, heat back into the room.
  • Firebox – This is where the fire is built.
  • Firebox Opening – The firebox opening is literally the opening to the firebox.
  • Hearth – The hearth is usually a brick or stone surface that protects your flooring and furniture from embers. This is the area that most people choose to decorate during the holidays for additional holiday cheer.
  • Ash Dump – The ash dump is where ash can be safely removed once it has completely cooled.
  • Clean Out Door – The cleanout door is on the outside of the base of the chimney and where cooled ash is removed.

We fully understand that not all homeowners are familiar with DIY home improvement projects or comfortable with the idea of cleaning the chimney flue on their own. That’s perfectly okay, and we respect the decision to hire a professional C-DET technician or CSIA Certified chimney sweep for the job. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if you would like to schedule an appointment for a dryer vent cleaning with one of our C-DET technicians or a chimney inspection with our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps.

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