Skip to main content

Chimney and Fireplace Anatomy and Definitions


 Listed below are chimney and fireplace terms and definitions as well as a diagram of a traditional masonry fireplace and chimney.



Anatomy of a Chimney

Chimney Crown – Your chimney crown protects your chimney from water damage entering through small cracks. Without a proper chimney crown- or if you have a cracked one, rain water seeps into the bricks and mortar of your chimney structure. Even minute amounts of water can result in brick flaking, mortar deterioration, and unsightly salt deposits on your chimney. Eventually, the bricks and mortar break up enough that the chimney is no longer structurally sound. 

Flue – A flue is simply a passage for conveying exhaust gases from an appliance to the outdoors. A flue may be a duct, pipe, vent, or chimney. An unlined chimney is technically a flue, even though an unlined chimney is a fire hazard.

Flue Lining – For a safe flue, a lining must be used to ensure minimal accumulation of flammable debris. This lining should be stainless steel or specially formulated lining tile. In our all about chimneys article we talk further about the importance of the flue lining and problems you may be facing with your flue lining.

Smoke Chamber – The purpose of the smoke chamber is to gently compress the byproducts of combustion into a smaller space (the chimney) without causing back draft. The use of sloping walls, in conjunction with good fireplace design and maintenance, helps facilitate this.

Chimney Damper – Chimney Dampers are lever or pulley activated doors within your chimney. They can be closed to prevent energy loss when your fireplace isn’t being used. They also help prevent rain water or animals from entering your home if your chimney cap doesn’t restrict this. 

Smoke Shelf – This shelf is just behind the chimney damper. Flat, it catches falling debris and rain water, and helps with the transition of large volumes of smoke into the small chimney.

Chimney Chase – This generally refers to a factory made case used around factory made chimneys. This function is taken by masonry chimneys in homes that have them.


Anatomy of a Fireplace


Mantle – Also known as mantel piece or mantel shelf, this piece of hardware is more than a surface to display family photos and hang stockings. It’s primary use was to help catch smoke and prevent it from entering the home.

Lintel – This piece is place just above the fireplace opening. Lintels are used in archway, door and window openings to help bear the load created by opening such spaces.

Throat – This is the space just below the damper and just above the firebox, where the fire first passes through.

Firebox – The firebox is the section of the chimney system in which a person builds a fire. A proper firebox is lined with firebrick, a substance of refractory ceramic, which can become cracked or weakened after years of use. 

Hearth Extension – This is the space that occupies the floor just outside of the firebox. It’s made of heat resistant material such as tile or brick to reduce the chance of fires.

Hearth – This is the space on which the fire actually burns. As with the firebrick, it must be able to handle both the potential corrosivness of the burned material and the high heats it can be subjected to.

Ash Dump – Lies directly below the ash door dump, this is the space ash falls through once the ash dump door is opened.

Ash Pit – Below the ash dump, this serves as a collection space for dumped ash. It should be emptied frequently to prevent excess accumulation of flammable byproducts.

Clean Out Door – This door is used to clean out the ash dump. It frequently is located outside or in the basement to make ash removal easy.

Footing – This is the horizontal surface under the ash pit. Generally made of concrete, the chimney should be securely placed in relationship to the footing to prevent problems later on.

Foundation – The lowest part of the chimney walls, this is made of heavy duty brick or cinder block. It’s used as structural support for the rest of the chimney, and is exposed to potentially hot ash. As such, it should be sturdy.

Fireplace Face – This is the area between the mantel and the fireplace itself. Traditionally brick, it must be sturdy enough to handle the heat of the fireplace below it.

Ash Dump Door – This door allows you to easily remove ash from your firebox. Placed in the middle of your firebox, it can opened to dump the ash into the ash dump.
























diagram source: chimneyrepairny.com


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Caring For Your Paver Patio or Walkway

Brick pavers are one of the most attractive and distinctive materials for hardscaping and landscape design. They are used for walkways, patios, pool decks, driveways, and as edging. Brick paving is very popular with both landscaping contractors and the do it yourself homeowner, combining an easy installation with a bold landscaping statement. Bricks are a long lasting solution in any application and landscaping is no exception. With the proper care, maintenance, and the occasional repair, brick pavers will provide a long service life in any landscaping desacign.
Keeping Brick Pavers Clean And Beautiful Caring for any application of brick pavers starts with good cleaning habits. Dirt and spills will slowly fade the beautiful facade of brick paving. Routine cleaning includes sweeping off dirt and debris, especially from walkways as grit will slowly deteriorate brick over a number of years. Use an absorbent such as a commercial product or even just cat littler to pick up spilled liquids …

Chimney Sweep FAQ's

Why should I have my chimney inspected?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, chimney’s should be inspected or cleaned annually. The chimney and fireplace / furnace system is quite complicated and an inspection can alert you to a potential problem before it becomes a costly repair or a safety issue. Many times homeowners are unaware of problems that may exist.

There are 3 levels of Chimney Inspections that can be done depending on each individual case. It is always a good idea to schedule your inspection and cleaning in the late summer or early fall, before you begin using the chimney or furnace during the heating season. Many of our customers request to be on a regular annual schedule for this work. Another important time to schedule an inspection is if you have changed to a new furnace or if you have just purchased the home and want to be sure about the condition of the chimney system.


How does a Chimney Sweep clean a chimney? Will it make a mess?

At Lehigh Valley Chi…