Learning

Clay Flue Tiles

Flue Tiles: Common Problems and Why


Lets first review how most common chimneys are built. You have a masonry exterior and inside for a lining you have clay flue tiles that are stacked one on top of another. This is called a flue, some chimneys have a single flue and some have more then one flue but NFPA code states you should only vent one appliance per a flue.

Because the flue tiles are stacked one on top of the other they are usually sealed with mortar. Your chimney’s job is to take the noxious gasses created during the combustion process from your appliance outside of your home. These gasses can contain creosote/soot, carbon monoxide and other corrosive chemicals and over time they will break down the seal as well as the flue tiles. These gaps between the flue tiles will now allow gasses to seep into your home.

There are several reasons why your clay flue tiles can become damaged over time;

  • seismic events
  • chimney fire
  • thermal expansion
  • water damage
  • manufacturer defects
  • home settling

Now that the flue tiles are damaged, just by running your heating appliance the thermal expansion can turn a hairline into a quarter inch gap allowing these harmful gasses to escape into your home. Now while this is dangerous no matter the type of chimney you have a center run chimney you could be blowing soot and other harmful and corrosive chemicals into your walls.

Another very common problem is spalling caused by direct exposure to constant moisture and the corrosive chemicals the flue is responsible for venting. Does your chimney have a proper cap with animal guard. This is another reason it is important to have your flues swept and inspected as recommended once a year*. Spalling is when the flue tiles flake or delaminate. Once this begins to happen not only does your chimney stop working efficiently but your start to introduce threat risks to your family’s health.

The gasses that your chimney is evacuating from your home are poisonous. Along with the poisonous gasses creosote and soot can build up outside of the flue tiles and into the home. This can cause staining and destroy the inside of a home, not to mention they are carcinogens and highly flammable.

Is your home safe? Click here to contact chimney champs now!

smoke pipe

Furnace Smoke Pipe Repair / Replacement

A common problem that we find when we are doing chimney sweeps and servicing wood stoves, that is damaged or smoke pipe that is just falling apart. This smoke pipe is responsible for taking deadly gasses and harmful smoke from your heating appliances.

Chimney Champs, home of the $99 chimney sweep is now proud to offer on-site smoke pipe replacement for free with your sweep! You pay for the piping required, we sweep away the service charge every other company charges*.

If you were to look around online there is a common comment you will see on message boards and support forums,

My immediate advice is to plug in a carbon monoxide detector near the furnace. If it goes off, evacuate the premises and call a HVAC professional!

or

So I shouldn’t be to concerned about the gaps leading to C0/C02 poisoning and death overnight?

So why even bother with having to worry about carbon monoxide or any of the other acoustic gasses or the smell and damage smoke can do to your home, have chimney champs sweep your chimney, and if you need your pipe replaced, well…. we do that too.

Want to make an appointment to get your chimney services call now, 860-594-8607 or click here to contact us on the web. Chimney Champs services all of Connecticut, Rhode Island & New Hampshire.

*I did not call every chimney shop in the surrounding states to confirm they do not drive out and replace furnace or fireplace piping for free.

How Often Should I Sweep My Chimney

Chimney Champs is everyone’s favorite chimney and masonry company. We are home of the $99 sweep! For just $99 get any type of flue swept and inspected.

The National Fire Prevention Association [NFPA] every flue should be inspected once a year for proper functionality and to ensure it is free from defect. “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”

Your heating appliance uses the chimney to vent poisonous gasses and soot. Do you live in a multi family home or apartment building we service all areas of CT; Hartford, Manchester, Rocky Hill, New Britain? Have your land or property management call now for a $99 sweep 860-594-8607.

If you feel dizzy, sick, tired or are having head aches you could be experiencing C.O poisoning. There are many deaths and Injuries each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

With every sweep you will receive a Level I & partial Level II inspection.

Chimney Inspections: The 3 Different Levels

There are 3 different level chimney inspections. The below if from the CSIA.org website;

Level 1 Inspection

If your appliance or your venting system has not changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a Level 1 inspection is a minimum requirement. A Level 1 inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same appliance.

​In a Level 1 inspection, your chimney service technician should examine the readily accessible** portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible* portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. Your technician will be looking for the basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections. The technician will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.

Level 2 Inspection

A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape of, or material in, the flue (i.e. relining), or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency. Additionally, a Level 2 inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operation malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events as well as weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted.

There are no specialty tools (i.e. demolition equipment) required to open doors, panels or coverings in performing a Level 2 inspection. A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required by a Level 2 inspection.

When a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without special tools to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue, a Level 3 inspection is recommended. A Level 3 inspection addresses the proper construction and the condition of concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Removal or destruction, as necessary, of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure will be required for the completion of a Level 3 inspection. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible* portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl spaces and basements. It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations.

Level 3 Inspection

A Level 3 inspection includes all the areas and items checked in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary.

Removal of components (i.e., chimney crown, interior chimney wall) shall be required only when necessary to gain access to areas that are the subject of the inspection. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.

* Accessible: May require the use of commonly available tools to remove doors, panels or coverings, but will not damage the chimney or building structure or finish. 

** Readily Accessible: Exposed, or capable of being exposed, for operation, inspection, maintenance or repair without the use of tools to open or remove doors, panels or coverings. ​

Chimney champs condo association software

Association Fire Prevention Assistant

Chimney Champs presents the Condo Association Fire Prevention Assistant software. If you are part of a condo association or are in charge of collecting, saving and organizing the reports and you would like to sign up for our free software please contact bobgchimneychamps@gmail.com

This software is 100% free and requires no commitment to use. We will supply you with a login and any properties that you manage, if we complete a sweep or inspection at that property the report is immediately available to you with pictures.

Smoke Chamber Code Upgrade NFPA

Smoke chamber code upgrade to bring your fireplace to compliance with NFPA standards. NFPA 211 states that all smoke chambers for wood-burning masonry fireplaces must be parged smooth with high-heat cement. Without this cement lining in the smoke chamber, small imperfections in the masonry of the fireplace or chimney can lead to devastating damage to your chimney and home.

Smoke Chamber

In the smoke chamber is where the final steps of the combustion process take place. Even small unnoticeable gaps or cracks in the smoke chamber can cause serious issues.

Flammable creosote blockage buildup due to smoke not being able to quickly escape up the flue liner and out the chimney.

Heat spreading from inside the the chimney to surrounding items and nearby walls creates creates a serious risk of a house fire not to mention the carbon monoxide that could be leaking out.

Smoke Chamber NFPA Standards

Cross Section Reference: 11.2.1.3.3 – The cross sectional area of the passageway above the firebox including the throat, damper, and smoke chamber shall not be less than the cross sectional area of the flue

Thickness Reference: 11.2.1.10 – Where unlined, the smoke chamber wall thickness shall not be less than 8″

Height Reference: 11.2.1.11 – The smoke chamber height shall not be greater than the inside width of the fireplace room opening.

Depth Reference: 11.2.1.12 – The smoke chamber depth shall not be greater than the depth of the fireplace chamber.

Inner Surface Reference: 11.2.1.13 – The inner surfaces of the smoke chamber shall be parge coated smooth, with an insulating refractory mortar, and not inclined more than 45 degrees from vertical.

If you have a fireplace in your home but are not sure if it is safe for use, Chimney Champs can help! Contact us to schedule your $99 chimney sweep and inspection. We offer a wide variety of services including Level I, II and III inspections. Home of the $99 chimney sweep, Chimney Champ’s technicians are certified and all of our sweeps include a comprehensive level II inspection! That provides you with everything you would need to know you are venting safely.

What is a chimney?

When most people hear the word chimney they picture the traditional masonry chimney. While that is a correct answer, the actual definition is;

A chimney is a structure that provides ventilation for hot flue gases or smoke from a boiler, stove, furnace or fireplace to the outside atmosphere. Chimneys are typically vertical, or as near as possible to vertical, to ensure that the gases flow smoothly, drawing air into the combustion in what is known as the stack, or chimney effect.

masonry chimney anatomy
Class A Double Wall Pipe is also a chimney.