Chimneys may be the best feature of your home. They are not only beautiful and add to the architectural integrity of the home, but they also keep your family safe while using a fireplace while making it more efficient. The chimney, its parts, and industry professionals have evolved over time to always improve safety and efficiency. Homes are safer with chimneys, and safer still when those chimneys are properly constructed and maintained. Taking care of your chimney is also an investment in your property, and your future!
While historic chimneys in our region of New England may go back to the 1700s, chimneys themselves go back as far as 12th century Europe. Before this, ventilation occurred in Rome when bakeries installed tubes in the walls to let smoke out. It wasn’t until the 15th and 16th centuries that chimneys took on a cosmetic appeal with ornate carvings and tall structures that could compensate for larger homes and multiple fireplaces. Simple chimney structure, though decorative and complementary to the home’s architecture remained the norm in Europe until the 18th century. At this time, coal was introduced as a domestic fuel source and this is when chimneys became the focus of serious study.
In the 18th century, Sir Benjamin Thompson identified the forms and relationships of the chimney’s parts. They consist of the throat, the smoke chamber, and the flue. The throat is the entrance of the flue where the smoke and heat passes into the smoke chamber and mixes to rise up the chimney. The smoke chamber includes a smoke shelf that prevents the smoke from falling back into the fireplace. The flue is the lengthy portion of the system, which carries the smoke out through the roof. Early chimney flues were masonry, and sometimes lined, though many flues even in the 1900s went unlined. Read more about chimneys here.
Chimneys today are made up of many parts that work together to keep the chimney working safely and efficiently. Some parts offer convenience, others are for cosmetic affect. Overall, the chimney has become more than a means to vent a fire. Families that don’t need fire heat still have a fireplace and chimney because they want them!
Chimneys today MAY include an ash dump which helps homeowners manage ashes. They may have a mantel, glass doors, or fireplace screen. The parts of the chimney that are recommended and/or required are: dampers, caps, crowns, and flue liners. What type of part you choose, is up to the homeowner, though some parts and brands offer benefits and convenience. For instance, you can save money by choosing a top-mount damper instead of a throat damper. The type of liner or liner repair you choose offers benefits as well. For instance, clay tile liners only work for wood heat, but stainless steel or HeatShield liners work with all fuel types.
Though chimneys have evolved over time, one thing is the same: chimneys keep homes safer than without. Chimneys that are maintained keep families safer than those that are neglected.
Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today at 617-469-4528 today and ask a professional about chimney services.