A chimney is essentially an air conditioning structure designed of clay, masonry or metal which encloses hot toxic gases or smoke emitted by a furnace, stove, boiler or incinerator from inside human living spaces. They can be constructed to include a water-storage tank for storage of water, and a decorative facade, or they can be simple. A chimney stack is the most important part of a chimney.
Chimneys are highly durable. They are made from different materials to meet the varying needs. It is one of the few heating systems that can be considered as both an artistic and a functional creation, and it is the part of the house most people see when they approach it. The design of chimneys reflects the society they live in: the Victorian age was characterized by grand chimneys with the chimneypiece on top, and the Victorian children’s stories often described dark smoke rising from the chimney.
Today the Victorian concept is considered quaint and obsolete, and the chimney is often considered as a decorative element only. But chimneys still have an important role. They help in effectively managing air quality in the area of the fireplace and reduce pollution from emissions of paint fumes, fuels and oil. A well designed chimney will be surrounded by guttering so that smoke and gases are expelled safely and without causing any harm to people or animals.
Chimneys are also used for heating purposes. They are a kind of furnace that functions by burning wood or coal and releasing heat or steam from the inside. The smoke is filtered through a grate in front of the opening, which contains many smaller holes. There is usually a chimney at the top of the flu, so that it directs the smoke away from the house and into the air. Heat that has been trapped inside the flue is released through the chimney’s exit; this heat can be used for heating and cooking.
Different types of masonry fireplace include clay tile, stone or brick chimneys, and metal chimneys. Each type of chimney is designed for its particular application. Clay tiles are durable and fireproof, while stone and brick are durable and economical. For people who live in areas where wood or coal are scarce, a wood burning fireplace is the best solution.
It is important to get a Chimney inspection once in a while to check for hazards and potential problems. Chimney inspections should be performed by certified chimney inspectors who have experience and knowledge in this field. They perform visual examinations of the inside and outside of the flu and inside all the chimneys in the house. For safety reasons, they may also conduct several tests, like gas detection, to ensure the safety of the home occupants. The inspectors also carry out fire tests as well as carbon monoxide tests. If there are any problems, the chimney professional may recommend that the chimney be repaired immediately.
Carbon monoxide is the most common cause of fire deaths each year, and the inspectors are the best qualified to detect this deadly gas. They can detect leaks and other problems with the flue gases before they cause a fire. This is important because some chimneys are poorly designed and may allow excess amounts of carbon monoxide to build up. When this happens, the carbon monoxide turns into a lethal gas.
While chimneys are a very important part of every home, improper design and construction can lead to accidents. A chimney inspector can not only help homeowners with repairs, but they can also prevent future damage by suggesting appropriate safety precautions. Since houses built in areas with clay tile or stone flues are more susceptible to these types of chimneys, it is suggested that homes in these areas get a chimney inspection annually by a chimney sweep company. The experienced inspectors will be able to provide homeowners with valuable information about the types of chimneys they should have and which ones to avoid.