How does a flue on a fireplace work? Your chimney is one of the most critical components of a Indianapolis home with a fireplace. While it’s not the most glamorous element of your home, it’s important to keep it in excellent condition. To be able to safely enjoy your fireplace, you must understand how your chimney works and how to best care for it. 

Today, we’ll review the most important parts of the chimney, including the flue. Read on to find out how a fireplace flue works. 

Chimney Types

There are two main types of chimneys, a traditional masonry chimney, and a prefabricated chimney. The traditional chimney includes the firebox and flue. The firebox is where the wood burns and the flue is the air shaft that runs all the way through the roof. On the top of the chimney is a crown that keeps water and critters out of the chimney.

The prefabricated chimney will also have a firebox and a cap, but it will have a simple pipe instead of a flue. These chimneys are less expensive, but also less durable than a traditional chimney. They can also be tough to compare as it’s hard to find the component parts. 

The Chimney Damper

Both kinds of chimneys have a damper. The damper is a moveable metal plate that controls the airflow. The damper must be opened to allow the smoke from the firebox to exit through the chimney. When you are not using the fireplace, the damper should be cold to prevent outdoor air from entering your home. 

The standard throat damper is installed above the firebox, and controlled by a handle. A top-sealing damper is mounted at the top of the flue and is controlled with a stainless steel chain. The top-sealing damper keeps out animals, debris, precipitation, and outdoor air while keeping the heat inside your home. 


Drafting is essential for an effective chimney. It’s based on the principle that rising heat creates an air current with an upward trajectory. This principle of convection brings smoke and exhaust out of your home via the chimney. A larger chimney flue can create a stronger draft, but it’s also important to keep the chimney clear of creosote deposits and soot buildup to ensure proper drafting. 

Flue Liners

Chimney flue liners are mandatory in some states, but they are critical for your chimney. Flue liners protect your flue, which increases the performance and safety of your chimney. They can protect the combustibles in your chimney, preventing overheating. They also provide a layer of protection against corrosive by-products. 

The three types of flue liners available are clay tiles, stainless steel/aluminum, and cast-in-place liners. Clay tiles are often used with masonry chimneys. They are affordable but can crack under intense heat. To remain effective, the clay liner needs to be repaired. 

Stainless steel and aluminum liners are commonly used in modern homes. They are easy to install in existing chimneys. 

Cast-in-place liners are more expensive because they require extensive labor, but they are formed with heat-resistant concrete. They can be installed on existing chimneys. 

Preventing Chimney Fires

The chimney flue must be regularly cleaned and inspected. Creosote, a highly flammable substance, can build up on the flue. Creosote may catch fire and cause a very serious chimney fire that could damage your home and threaten your safety. By simply keeping the chimney flue clean and free from buildup, you can greatly reduce the risk of a chimney fire. Getting your annual chimney sweep and inspection is the easiest way to keep your flue creosote-free and to prevent chimney fires. 

A damaged flue is also a hazard for chimney fires. If your flue shows any signs of damage, a professional must repair it. Your yearly chimney sweep and inspection can identify any issues before they become big, expensive problems. 

Chimney Repair in Indianapolis 

Keep your chimney flue clean and efficient with a chimney sweep and inspection from a professional. For the best chimney services, look no further than your Brick + Ember Outfitters of Indianapolis. We offer affordable, quality chimney cleanings to help you keep your chimney in tip-top shape. Our knowledgeable CSIA-certified chimney technicians will carefully examine your chimney for any signs of damage so we can help you address them fast. 

Brick + Ember Outfitters will help you keep your chimney in its prime condition for as long as possible. Whether you need a chimney sweep, repair, or replacement, our team of experts can help. To learn more about our chimney services or to schedule your appointment, contact Brick + Ember Outfitters Indianapolis today at 317-500-1250 or OFFICE@BRICKANDEMBER.COM