All about Chimneys and Chimney Construction

Welcome to our section all about chimneys and chimney construction. The chimney is a vital part of your fireplace or woodstove and can directly affect your woodburning experience. In this section you'll learn how they work, their parts, and products/solutions for any possible problems.

The Parts of a Chimney

Chimney construction consists of many important parts to ensure that you have the most efficient and safe fires possible. Below are the parts that make up a chimney.

Chimney Flue
The chimney flue is the vertical passageway where the combustible wood products leave your firebox (just another word for where the wood is burning). The flue is literally where the smoke and other by-products of the fire are traveling before they exit the top of the chimney.

Chimney Liner
The chimney liner is inside wall of the chimney. It is usually made from stainless steel or terra-cotta. The liner is there to protect the chimney from excessive wear, facilitate easier cleaning and better performance.

Chimney Crown
The chimney crown is at the top of the chimney and is usually a few inches below where the liner ends. It is sloped away from the center of the chimney to discourage rain build-up.

Chimney Cap
The Chimney cap is at the very top of the chimney and covers the chimney liner. It keeps rain and animals from interfering with chimney performance. Unless you like the idea of animals and rain taking up residence in your chimney, you better make sure that you have a cap.

Chimney Damper
The damper is at the bottom of the chimney. It is what you open when you have a fire and close when your fireplace is not in use.

Cleanout Door
Finally, the cleanout door is at the bottom of the chimney and allows for better inspection and cleaning of the flue with woodstoves. Please note that most fireplaces won't have one because the area is already large enough to do the job.

Whew, that's a lot of info! Now that we've covered the basic chimney construction, lets take a look at how your chimney works and some products to help you get the most out of your chimney.

How Chimneys Work

When you burn wood, the hot by-products of the fire escape up the chimney because of the pressure difference in the outside air which causes the draft that takes the smoke up the chimney.

The colder the air is outside, the better your chimney will draft.

Many problems can arise with chimneys including creosote build-up, animal nests, and water damage. The best policy for keeping your chimney in good working order is to burn seasoned wood, clean it regularly(at least once a year) and have an expert inspect your chimney for potential damage.

Creosote build-up is the cause of chimney fires. Chimney fires burn extremely hot and can damage your chimney and possibly even your house. For this reason it is imperative that you clean you chimney regularly.

Learn How to Clean a Chimney
Chimney Sweep Cost - Learn how much to pay
Learn about Chimney Insulation
Information about Chimney Crickets

Chimney Products

There are several items that are handy for a woodburner when it comes to chimneys.

At the very least you should have a chimney fire extinguisher. This will come in handy if you ever run into a problem with a chimney fire. Also, if you plan on cleaning a chimney yourself, you should buy the appropriate cleaning supplies to ensure that you do the job right.

Chimney Cleaning Supplies
Learn About Chimney Fire Extinguishers
Learn about Chimney Sweeping Logs
Our Guide to Chimney Sealants

Bottom Line

It's easy to forget about your chimney when you consider all of the work that goes into processing and burning firewood. The reality of the matter is that your chimney is an important part of the process. It needs to be inspected and cleaned regularly to ensure that you are safe and burning efficiently.


Return to our Firewood Home Page from Chimney Construction