You can tell that a chimney is structural if it is covered with a concrete cap or a tin. This tin needs to be 50mm wider than the chimney on all sides. Check also that the outer wall has adjustable vents for letting in oxygen necessary for combustion.
A building needs to have repair facades, forced ventilation, and replacement of openings to prevent the chimney draft from deteriorating. A low chimney draft may reduce the temperature of the flue gases, causing more condensation.
What Are The Other Tips Of A Structural Chimney?
Other tips of telling if a chimney is structural include;
1. The design and construction of both the combustion chamber and chimney should be such that the temperature of the flue gases does not drop below 100-degrees Celsius.
2. Dry wood used for heating needs not to have a moisture content above 20%.
3. If the heating materials used in the chimney are liquid such as gas or oil, the flue gas temperature should remain below 100-degrees Celsius. The boilers need to use materials like ceramic and stainless steel, which are acid-resistant in the chimneys. Such materials prevent disruption in the operation of the smoke channels.
4. A structural chimney observes the Fire Safety Act and requirements.
How To Tell What Kind Of Chimney You Have
It is easy to tell what type of chimney you have by checking the fireplace.
Different Types Of Fireplaces That Are Available
Type Of Fireplace
Wood burning/prefab fireplace
It uses a double/triple wall chimney. It is made of metal sheets and covered with tile brick or stone.
It is made of stone, brick, or modular masonry units. There is a stone or brick chimney in the attic.
Gas burning fireplace
The fireplace uses gas only.
Natural vent/B-vent fireplace
They are used by operating a remote or wall switch. The chimney goes through the roof and is visible in the attic.
Direct vent gas fireplaces
It has a sealed face or glass panel on the front and is operated by a remote or wall switch.
No vent pipe or chimney, and it is used with vent-free appliances.
Wood Burning Fireplaces
Wood burning (also referred to as air-cooled, zero clearance, or prefab) fireplace is the most common in homes. This fireplace is factory-built and utilizes a double or triple wall chimney system. You can use the fireplace with gas for starting wood fires or install a fire glass, gas insert, or a gas log set, to convert it to gas only. To identify the unit, look inside the fireplace and see if it is made of a metal sheet. Its walls (1-3) need to be ceramic with a stone or brick pattern.
The fireplaces have their front covered with stones, tile, or brick for aesthetics. The flue is a round metal pipe that goes up, and the fireplace has a damper to be closed or opened.
Gas Burning Fireplaces
A gas fireplace may not be very easy to identify and is not meant for solid fuels but gas only. These fireplaces have dead giveaways and are more closely related to clothes dryers and your kitchen range. Gas burning fireplaces come with fittings that cannot be substituted or altered.
This type of fireplace is made of stone, brick, or modular masonry pieces. You can easily identify the fireplace by a stone or brick chimney in the attic area that extends through the roof. The chimney has bricks or clay roof tiles which is also an identical feature for this fireplace. Since these fireplaces are less restrictive for what you can use, you can use any accessory or appliance in them.
Natural Vent (B-vent Fireplace)
Natural vent fireplaces are mostly available in modern homes. The fireplaces are not for heating and are quite attractive. They usually have a glass door that you can close and open or a solid glass door with air gaps at the top and bottom. This fireplace has a chimney that enters the rooftop and which you can see in the attic as a vent. One of the most distinctive features of this fireplace is a burner setup and log set that is not so desirable.
Direct Vent Gas Fireplaces
Direct vent gas fireplaces are operated using a remote or wall switch and can heat both small and large sections. The fireplaces have no damper for the user to open or close and are mostly used for gas only. You can never alter these fireplaces’ burner setup or log.
How Can You Clean The Chimney?
The process of cleaning the chimney needs a lot of caution and care since it is unpleasant and can be a health hazard. A chimney has filthy and toxic soot that is difficult to remove since it can lead to a fire outbreak. The substance can also generate dangerous and unpleasant fumes when removing. When cleaning this part of your building, you must have the appropriate materials and be sure to follow the right procedure.
The following tips are very helpful;
Collect all the materials you require for the job, including;
1. A metal brush for cleaning the fireplace
2. Newspaper sheets
3. A hard nylon brush
4. Gloves, shovel, rags, and towels
5. Brush, dustpan, garbage bags, and lantern
Once you have all the equipment needed, follow these simple steps;
1. Put on a hat, protective clothes, and rubber gloves. Doing this will help to protect your hair, body, and hands from any harmful substances.
2. Using the newspaper sheets, cover the floor and all furniture that is close to the fireplace.
3. Place a garbage bag nearby where you will deposit debris and papers after cleaning.
4. Confirm that the ashes are cold, then remove the grill (be sure to clean it separately). Clean the fireplace drawer by using a shovel to collect all the ashes
5. Check the flue and chimney to ensure that the air outlet is free. If this is the case, use a shovel to scrape off any soot embedded on the sides.
6. Scrape the inside of the chimney using a metal brush and rub all the walls. Doing this will ensure that all the soot is removed.
After all the soot is out, work on other parts such as;
1. Cleaning the grills with a wire brush. Make sure that you clean this piece from top to bottom and see that no grime remains on the walls.
2. Use water and soap to clean the drawer, then remove all the papers placed on the floor. Carefully place the papers in the garbage bag and avoid pouring the soot on the floor.
3. Use water, a sponge, or pieces of cloths to clean the walls and front. Replace the water and repeat this procedure until the water is no longer dark. Then rinse and dry the walls using towels and old newspapers.
4. Using a wire brush, clean the grates and other metal parts and carefully dry them to prevent rusting.
5. Once you have cleaned everything, carefully remove any remaining newspaper sheets that you used for protection and place each item back to where it was. Finally, you can close the air duct.
Several tips can be used to tell if your chimney is real or not, such as whether it is covered with a concrete cap or tin. The chimney also needs to have adjustable vents on the outer wall, and its design must prevent the temperature of the flue gases from dropping below 100-degrees Celsius.