How a Chimney Flue Works

For Nashville homeowners with a fireplace, understanding the basic components of a chimney is important. Knowing the primary parts of your chimney will allow you to be a more responsible fireplace owner and give you a base for identifying issues. 

One of the most important parts of a chimney is the chimney flue. Read on to find out what you need to know about the chimney flue. 

What is a Chimney Flue?

A chimney flue is the metal ductwork, brick stack, or ceramic piping that runs from your firebox to the top of the chimney outside. The flue exhausts gas and debris to the outside of your house and into the open air. 

How Does the Chimney Flue Work?

A stacking effect occurs when the temperature in the outside part of the flue is very different from the inside portion. Gas and ash are lighter than the cold air and are drawn up the flue and vented outside. There is some heat loss in the process, but you can sometimes make adjustments in the firebox to help minimize the loss.   

Fresh Air

A byproduct of the flue is fresh air coming into your home. Fresh air helps oxygenate your fire. The fireplace portion of the flue has a lever-operated device called a damper, which you can open to let in fresh air while eliminating gas and ash. You can close it to keep the warm air in when the fireplace is not in use.

Problems with the Chimney Flue

Creosote can build up in your flue and cause less efficient burning at best, but a chimney fire at worst. You need to have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year to prevent a dangerous situation.

If your fireplace smokes heavily and the damper is open all the way, there could be something blocking the flue up above, such as creosote, soot, or even an animal’s nest. If your fireplace smokes occasionally, make sure the damper is open all the way. It may be stuck semi-open or broken. In either case, you’ll need to contact a professional.

Cracks in the flue occur when moisture and creosote combine. If the lining is cracked, you need to replace it before you use the fireplace again because the lining protects the combustible parts of your home from catching fire. It’s difficult to determine whether a flue needs replacing without using a special camera like many professionals have.

Flues break down over time and you may need to repair or replace yours. This may be due to normal wear and tear, poor workmanship, or the flue being old enough that it was made from materials that are now illegal.

The Best Chimney Flue Services in Nashville

The flue is a very important part of your chimney. There are several things that can go wrong with your flue, so it’s critical that you have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected regularly.

If you have questions or concerns about your chimney, please don’t hesitate to contact Chimney and Masonry Outfitters of Nashville. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and put your mind at ease. Call us now at 615-823-8268 to set up an inspection, or make an appointment directly from our website.