Chimney liners serve a vital purpose for your home. For one thing, they prevent hazardous gas leaks, which are a health and safety danger.
In addition, chimney liners help aged chimneys be more efficient, adding years to the chimney’s useful life.
Unfortunately, chimney liners get dirty quickly, which is no surprise considering the amount of smoke they are exposed to.
Like other household items, such as an HVAC system, they need periodic maintenance and cleaning. Putting off servicing chimney liners only hastens their demise, in addition to presenting an unhealthful situation for your family.
To ensure your chimney liner continues to perform its vital function, make sure to clean and repair it at regular intervals.
Before embarking on chimney liner repair, be sure to collect the necessary equipment:
- A large steel brush
- A small steel brush
- An extension pole
- An extended ladder
- Replacement chimney liner
- Heat resistant adhesive
- Safety gloves and goggles
How To Repair a Chimney Liner
Step 1 – Prepare
To start with, assemble the extension poles and select a steel brush of the correct size. Do not try to assemble the extension poles while on the roof.
That is difficult and dangerous. Instead, assemble them on the ground and take the prepared extension poles to the roof.
Also before heading to the roof, be sure to open the chimney flue door, which ensures that no excessive dirt builds up in the chimney. This also helps keep the chimney liner cleaner, resulting in less work for you!
Step 2 – Access The Roof
Use the extension ladder to access your roof. Place it carefully on the side of your house at the proper height. Be sure the ladder is supported. It is a good idea to have a partner hold the ladder while you climb up and down.
Be sure to use your safety harness. A harness should always be used when working at a dangerous height. Accidental falls off roofs cause many broken bones and other injuries. They can also result in death.
Once you arrive at the chimney, remove the chimney cap and inspect the chimney for any damage. It is better to fix damage now than allow it to remain and risk worse problems and more expensive repairs in the future.
Use the small steel brush to clean out any debris and dirt. Be certain to thoroughly scrub the chimney and leave no grime behind.
Step 3 – Repair Chimney Liner
When repairing the chimney liner, use safety gloves to protect your hands. Also, be certain you are in a stable, balanced position on the roof. Many people have accidentally thrown themselves off balance while pulling out the chimney liner.
Next, carefully remove the existing chimney liner. Correctly installed chimney liners come out easily. If it was installed incorrectly, be sure to maintain your balance while working to remove the liner. Once the liner is removed, you can inspect it for damage.
If you detect minor damage, replace the damaged sections with small pieces of new liner. It is usually better to repair a chimney liner if it has small cracks. Replacement liners are costly, and you can save time and money by repairing your current one.
Use the heat resistant adhesive to attach the replacement pieces to the liner. Make sure to purchase a heat resistant adhesive that is made for use in chimney liner repair. Once the liner is repaired, lower it back into the chimney.
Step 4 – Replace the Chimney Liner (if needed)
Sometimes, a large amount of damage is evident. When this is the case, it is often better to completely replace the chimney liner. To replace the liner, carefully withdraw the current liner and inspect.
If there is only a small crack, consider repairing the liner to save time and materials. However, if many cracks or large cracks are apparent, it is better to replace the whole thing.
Use a flexible replacement liner. First ensuring you are balanced properly and secured by your harness, remove the threaded studs, wingnuts, and hexagonal bolts that held the old liner.
Then slowly thread the new liner into the chimney. Use the studs, wingnuts, and hexagonal bolts to refasten the new liner. Ensure the liner is aligned correctly and secured in its position.
Step 5 – Cleaning
Once you complete the repair job or have replaced the liner, you will need to clean up. Firstly, attach the large steel brush to the extension poles and use it clean the liner.
Push the brush slowly into the chimney and rotate it as you clean. Remove all large buildups of debris and dirt. Clean the chimney up and down three to four times. Be careful to work gently, so you avoid damaging the liner.
Step 6 – Finishing
Replace the chimney cap and remove any debris from the roof. Descend the ladder carefully and clean up the area. Once inside, close the flue door. Clean out any debris that may have accumulated in the fireplace.
By following these steps, you know how to repair a chimney liner.
It is possible you will notice damage to the chimney flue or clay tiles. If this is the case, take the following steps to repair the damage:
Chimney Flue and Clay Tile Repair
Chimney flues must take an enormous amount of heat and may be damaged. In addition, if you have clay flue tiles in the chimney masonry, there is a good chance you will need to replace cracked and busted tiles.
When you see a busted tile or a failing mortar joint between the tiles, repair as soon as possible.
A properly maintained chimney not only functions better, it also dramatically reduces the chances of harmful fumes getting into your home. A well cared for chimney also reduces the chances of a house fire.
As a fire burns, a combustion process results in carbon monoxide, creosote and other dangerous chemicals. These elements need to be vented outside your home in order to prevent them from polluting your living space and presenting danger to your family.
Inspecting the Clay Tiles
You need to inspect clay tiles in three distinct places:
Firstly, check the mortar joints between the sections of clay tile. These can erode over time. When they do, they leave large gaps
Clay tiles themselves can also crack or break over time. This may be due to poor construction or the natural process of your home settling. Be sure to check the clay tiles for cracking or breaking.
Next, inspect the inside lining of the clay tiles for spalling.
Spalling happens because moisture or corrosive chemicals affect the clay lining. This causes the tiles to flake apart, deteriorating from the inside out.
When this happens, the lining appears rough and may become pitted. The liner should be smooth and flat. When it starts to look rough, spalling is the problem. You usually find spalling near the chimney top because that part of the chimney receives the most condensation.
Spalling is usually found near the top of the chimney because that’s where condensation occurs.
Most likely, the clay tiles at the top of the chimney will fail first. Clay tiles are typically 24” squares.
There are 3 basic places to check when inspecting your chimney:
Firstly, the mortar joints between each section of clay tile can erode over time leaving large gaps between the tiles. Excessive heat, moisture and chemicals can all cause the mortar to break down and eventually fall apart.
Secondly, the clay tiles themselves can actually crack or break. Weather, poor construction and even the settling of your home over many years can eventually cause a clay tile to crack or break.
Thirdly, check the inside lining of the clay tiles for spalling. Spalling occurs when moisture or corrosive chemicals cause the inside clay lining to flake apart from the inside out. The lining will look rough or pitted as opposed to smooth and flat.
Why Chimney Upkeep Is So Important
A fireplace is a great home amenity. It provides warmth, comfort, and style to your home. However, like any other home appliance, it requires maintenance. Homeowners should inspect their chimneys once per year for wear to their liners or tiles.
Contractors can handle these inspections, replacements, and repairs. As professionals, they can safely check for problems and make the needed changes quickly. To keep your chimney clean and high-functioning, contact a local contractor today.