We Reline Chimney, Furnace, And Boiler Flues Throughout Delaware County & The Main Line
You may not give much thought to the inner workings of the chimney system and what is responsible for what, but your chimney liner is one of the most important components with one of the most important jobs. If it’s damaged or if your chimney was built or installed without a liner, your risk of house fire, carbon monoxide, and an inefficient and unpleasant fireside or heating experience is greatly increased. But we can help.
Questions? Ready to book an appointment? We’re here for you – don’t wait to reach out.
What Is a Chimney Liner?
First things first: what is a chimney liner? According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the flue lining in a masonry chimney is defined as “A clay, ceramic, or metal conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.”
Most masonry chimneys in Delaware County are constructed with an inner liner of clay tiles. The purpose of the liner is to keep the heat and flue gases contained inside of the chimney, and vent it to the outside, so that this heat and these flue gases don’t come into contact with the masonry walls of the chimney or nearby combustibles, like the framing or walls within your home.
The liner also works to keep carbon monoxide, moisture, smoke, creosote, and other byproducts of combustion from seeping through the bricks and mortar of your chimney and entering your home.
What Is the Average Lifespan of a Chimney Liner?
Ultimately, this depends on a multitude of factors. Things like the liner material, operational habits, overall system maintenance, and more, all play into the longevity of a chimney liner.
Take a terracotta clay liner, for instance. One of the most commonly found liner materials in traditional brick chimneys across the country, terracotta tiles are known to be long lasting – provided they are inspected, cleaned, and generally well-maintained. While this material creates a smooth exit-way for the exhaust fumes to travel up and out of the chimney through, it is important to note that, for as beneficial as terracotta is in the ventilation process, it is equally as fragile and susceptible to damage.
Clay tiles contain elastic qualities that, should they be directly exposed to the intensity of heat associated with fire, can elongate and separate from one another, causing gaps for the smoke – and all the harmful toxins and noxious gases contained within it – to escape through. A terracotta chimney liner might be designed to withstand the high temperatures of fire smoke, however, they simply are not meant to ever be that close to actual flames. Similarly, if there is any rapid change in temperature, such as what happens in a chimney fire, these tiles are prone to cracking and fracturing, which can lead to inefficiencies and an increased risk for dangers like carbon monoxide exposure.
All that to say, with proper attention, maintenance, and a little TLC, your chimney liner may last you anywhere from five to 20 years or more. However, the only real way to know the overall state and wellbeing of your chimney’s liner (and whether it’s time to consider having it relined) is to have your entire system professionally inspected every year.
Fortunately, if you live in the greater Delaware County, PA area, Lou Curley’s Chimney Service is just the place to call. With a dedicated, knowledgeable, and highly trained team of CSIA-certified technicians, we’re equipped to handle all your fireplace and chimney needs.
So, whether it’s time to schedule your annual cleaning or you’re looking for someone to reline your flue, the team at Lou Curley is the one for the job. Get in touch with someone from our team by filling out this appointment request form, or you can give us a call at 610-626-2439 to learn more and get started today.
What Are My Options for Chimney Relining? What’s the Best One?
For the most part, when it comes to chimney relining, there are largely two options: restoration or replacement. However, it is important to note here that restoration is only an option for homeowners with a traditional brick masonry chimney that currently utilizes a terracotta flue liner, and even then, it’s not widely applicable in every clay-lined system.
HeatShield® Repair Systems
Depending on the level of sustained damage, your clay tile liner may be an excellent candidate for HeatShield®, a unique and specially formulated product that perfectly blends the qualities of ceramic and refractory materials. Aptly named “Cerfractory,” this sealant can be applied in several different ways to a damaged, but otherwise intact clay liner. Using special tools formed to the precise dimensions of your chimney flue, we can resurface the interior of your chimney liner, creating an even, smooth surface for the exhaust fumes to pass through once again.
For those with prefabricated chimneys (or brick system terracotta liners that are too far gone), stainless steel is an excellent choice for liner replacement. Known to be strong, durable, and long-lasting, stainless steel also comes in a variety of alloys in order to accommodate different appliances and their respective fuel types, making it one of the most versatile relining options.
So… which is best?
As far as “the best one” …that’s really up to you! Both are excellent options and will provide your system with a renewed strength and improved efficiency, it’s just a matter of preference, possibility, and, of course, budget.
Curious to learn more? We’d be happy to meet with you and provide our professional advice so as to help you make the best choice for your home and family. Set up an appointment online or call us at 610-626-2439. We’re here to help with the hard stuff, so all you have to do is worry about enjoying your fireplace like it was intended.
Can You Install a Chimney Liner in a Masonry Chimney?
Absolutely. While it is common that “newer” brick chimneys (i.e., post 1940s) are often built with a terracotta clay liner, they are certainly not the only liner material available for these kinds of systems. Because of the way clay chimney liners are constructed – elongated, hollow shapes fused together with mortar all encased within the larger chimney chase – you can’t actually replace this kind of liner with another of the same material. To do so, you’d have to demolish your existing chimney and rebuild it all from scratch, which would obviously require a significant amount of time and money.
That’s where the HeatShield® repair products come in: the sealant fills in all the cracks, gaps, and separations in order to restore the liner to its original efficiency.
But what happens when your liner tiles are too damaged to be repaired by the HeatShield® “Cerfractory” sealant?
Cue metal chimney liners. While these kinds of liners are usually installed in prefabricated chimneys, they are excellent replacement options for brick chimneys with a severely damaged clay liner or even those that are unlined. Typically available in aluminum or stainless steel, metal liners create a no-fuss approach to keeping your masonry chimney safe and performing optimally – as long as the flue size and particular grade of metal are appropriate for the specific appliance and fuel source.
Simply because of their sturdy and versatile nature, here at Lou Curley we’re particularly fond of stainless flue liners and only install those that have been tested and proven to be high quality, safe, and effective.
How Much Does a Chimney Relining Service Typically Cost?
Honestly, because it can vary so greatly from case to case and chimney to chimney, we can’t even provide a range of price expectations that would be applicable to everyone who visits our site.
Why is that? Well, because here at Lou Curley, we value honesty and transparency – especially when it comes to the cost of our products and services. And one of the most important things to know about this industry is that no two services are ever the same.
For a service such as a relining, there are a whole lot of factors that play into the final cost:
- the state of the existing liner
- if it’s a candidate for HeatShield®
- whether a metal liner replacement the best option
- the overall size and length of the structure
- …and more
Just like with other fireplace or chimney maintenance services, what works well in one situation, doesn’t always work in another. But, when you work with a professional full service company like Lou Curley, you can trust that we’ll find the perfect solution for your chimney relining needs and your budget.
Want to know more about our pricing before booking with us? Simply give us a call! We’re always happy to discuss expectations and price estimates after we learn a little bit more about your specific needs and what you’re looking to achieve. Get in touch right here, through our website, or dial 610-626-2439 to speak with a friendly and knowledgeable member of our team. We’re here to give you all the information you need in order for you to make your best, informed decision. We’d love to work with you!
How Long Does the Chimney Relining Process Usually Take?
Well, just like with pricing, it’s hard to say. The biggest factor that will determine overall length of service is the direction in which you went: resurfacing with HeatShield® or installing a metal liner.
As you might imagine, applying coats of a specially curated sealant material to the difficult-to-see and even harder-to-reach inner walls of a damaged and deteriorating flue liner is going to take a great deal longer than dropping a big metal tube from the top of the system and ensuring everything is fitted properly. That said, there are other things to consider that could affect how long your chimney relining service takes such as accessibility into the structure, intensity of liner damage, the height and width of your flue, and more.
To put it simply? We really won’t know how long it will take to reline your chimney until we have a better idea of what we’re working with. In some scenarios, when things run smoothly and the chimney structure has been largely well-serviced and maintained, it might only take us a couple of hours. In others, where the damage is severe, it could take us the day. It’s just really hard to know without more information.
Rest assured, though, that when you trust Lou Curley’s Chimney Service for your relining needs, we’ll keep you in the loop throughout the whole process, so you never have to worry about being left in the dark or taken advantage of. If we quote you at a certain price and length of time, we always let you know if it looks like we’ll be going over. We pride ourselves on communicating with our customers so we can continue to form long lasting relationships with everyone we work with.
Is It Time To Reline Your Chimney?
As you can imagine, the flue liner has a hard job, and containing and venting the extreme heat and corrosive byproducts of your fireplace, stove, boiler, or furnace produces can take a toll. Furnace flues are especially prone to damage because of the corrosive effect of the flue gases produced, and when damage is present, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code 211 states that the liner must be replaced.
You’ll need to have your flue relined if the following is true:
- The original clay tile liner was never installed
- The clay tile liner cracks, crumbles, or deteriorates as a result of water damage, chimney fire, age, heat, or the corrosive byproducts of combustion
Because the flue liner must be properly sized for the appliance it’s venting and approved for use with the fuel it’s venting, you may also need to reline your chimney if you’re switching out appliances or changing fuel types.
When having a new liner installed, there are several things that you need to consider:
- What type of flue liner will you need? The quality and durability of chimney liners varies greatly, and not all metals are approved for use with all fuel types. Aluminum liners, for example, are only approved for use with certain types of gas appliances (not all), and cannot be installed in a flue that previously vented an oil appliance (like an oil furnace or boiler). These liners are also easily damaged during installation, especially if the chimney has an offset or a long run. Stainless steel liners are a much better choice, but make sure that the liner being installed is UL listed, not just “tested to UL standards.” You’ll also want to make sure it carries a transferable lifetime warranty and that all of the required components are being installed, not just the liner itself.
- What size will you need? Proper sizing is key to the safe and efficient function of a flue liner, which is why all chimneys have sizing requirements that must be met according to the International Residential Code (IRC). An incorrectly sized liner can lead to excessive creosote buildup in wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, performance problems, and the production of carbon monoxide with conventional fuels. Unfortunately, many companies simply install whatever size liner they have in stock, or whatever they can make fit, regardless of whether or not it’s the proper size for the attached appliance.
- Who should perform your chimney relining? There are a lot of specialty skills and tools needed to perform a proper chimney relining, and proper venting of appliances is crucial, which is why it should be done by a qualified chimney professional. The CSIA- certified chimney sweep credential is a good minimum standard to consider when looking for someone to do work on your chimney, and some warranties even require that the installation and annual inspection be performed by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. You’ll also want to look for other industry credentials, and make sure they have proof of liability insurance, and a valid Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor’s License.
We’re Experienced, Trained & Certified To Take Care Of Your Chimney Relining Project
Here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service, we’re proud to reline with quality, UL listed and tested, stainless steel chimney liners and, in some cases, repair and resurface flue liners with HeatShield®, a cerfractory sealant. Our team has relined thousands of chimney flues and furnace/boiler flues in the Philadelphia area, and has the following credentials: