Chimney venting is what we’ll be discussing.
However, before we begin, it’s necessary to make some clarifications.
Chimneys are designed to perform several functions. One of its central roles is to help vent out gases and other byproducts of combustion.
Chimney, Vents, And Flue: What’s The Difference?
Oftentimes chimney users end up mixing up three common chimney venting terms which are; chimneys, vents, and flue. But aren’t they supposed to refer to a single component?
Not at all! These might seem or sound similar until each of them is looked at or discussed individually.
It’s common knowledge that a chimney refers to the vertical structure or stack that projects or extends above your roofline. This structure isn’t suspended on built on the roof.
Rather, it goes right through the roof down to the base of such structure.
Of course, you’ll find the foundation, the fireplace, the hearth, and the cleanout door as well as the ash pit among other components. The chimney is basically a masonry structure consisting of bricks and mortar.
However, there are also prefabricated chimneys which are also popular.
Prefabricated chimneys are factory built and have to be moved and installed at suitable points or structures. We can say that the chimney is the external portion that can be seen above the roofline or outdoors.
Of course, this is the portion that’s exposed to the elements and needs to be maintained.
While chimney venting is a loosely used term that refers to the act of expulsion of combustion gases, vents themselves are structures like chimneys.
Now, wood fuels are known to better combust with chimney structures than vents. Vents are commonly used with fireplaces or inserts burning gaseous fuels.
Now, this is mostly confused with chimneys and flues due to their similarity. Vents can be quite versatile during installation. The reason is simple; vents can be installed vertically like chimneys or horizontally.
The way a vent is installed depends on what’s required.
Vents installed horizontally will also pass through the roof like chimneys. Whichever way your gas vents are installed, it serves a specific function; the release of combustion gases out of a home.
At the same time, it also serves as a conduit for air intake just like chimneys.
A flue is a generic name for passageways or ducts through which byproducts of combustion are released. Of course, this encompasses chimneys and vents. A flue serves as a safe exhaust as well as a channel for air intake to aid combustion.
Now, flues can be found in three states; unlined flues (those without a lining), damaged flue lining, and normal or functional lining. The functional flue lining is in perfect condition.
These three types of flue lining. These include cast-in-place lining, clay tiles, and metal lining. Those made of metal include stainless steel and aluminum lining materials.
Chimney Vent Installation
Chimney vent installation is a complex process that requires professional chimney technicians to perform. Like chimneys, vents will need to be insulated.
Recall we mentioned the passage of vents from a fireplace, insert or stove to the roof or wall.
As long as it comes in contact with your structure, there needs to be some kind of insulation to contain or restrict the temperature to the vent pipe alone. In other words, damage to a structure from a heated vent pipe is possible.
This is even more common when overused. With much heat comes further degradation of a structure. Bricks and mortar are gradually and steadily weakened until they crumble.
Also, combustible building components need to be shielded from constant heat exposure.
When a reputable chimney technician performs the job, they know exactly where to add insulation. With proper ventilation, chimney venting is significantly improved.
One of the ways to improve chimney venting is by having related components such as electric fans installed. This raises efficiency to a significant level and allows rapid expulsion of combustion gases.
It also improves the air supply going into the fireplace through the vent.
The downside with such components is a power outage. When this happens, it abruptly interrupts the expulsion of combustion gases.
Chimney venting costs a lot less than masonry chimneys.
This is irrespective of the venting type; that is, either roof or wall venting. While cost implications are on the low end, venting won’t compare to masonry chimneys when it comes to the number of flues.
A single masonry chimney can house multiple flues all connecting and expelling combustion gases or smoke.
When looking at costs from this angle, you’ll find that in reality, total installation costs for masonry chimneys tend to be cheaper.
Chimney Vent Styling
Masonry chimneys are reputed to add to the overall appearance or look of a building or structure. This is quite different when you take a look at vents. These won’t appear as nice as chimneys as their basic structure isn’t stylish enough.
Sometimes, vents end up looking messy. For this reason, such vents may sometimes not be projected as high as masonry chimneys. This is simply done to minimize their distortion.
You’ll need to discuss with your chimney technician how best to have a chimney vent installed without altering your home’s appearance.
Unused Masonry Chimneys Need Ventilation
When a chimney hasn’t been used for long, its condition will determine whether certain problems emerge or not.
Here, we’re talking about moisture problems. Homeowners often have to deal with moisture issues even for functional chimneys.
For an unused or retired masonry chimney, it’s best not to seal both ends. Rather the bottom or top parts should be sealed. Doing this allows air through the chimney, thus preventing moisture buildup.
Always Speak With A Chimney Technician
Whenever you have questions, doubts, or worries about your chimney or venting system, it’s important to let your chimney technician know about it.
Chimney venting has been explained from different perspectives. It’s an important action that involves the expulsion of smoke and other combustion gases from a fireplace while drawing in the fresh air.
Also, the general condition of the chimney vent is crucial to its functionality. Again, venting or allowing air to pass-through is a top priority that mustn’t be taken lightly.