No matter what you are burning for heating fuel, a chimney liner is a must. Not only does it enhance the safety of your system, home, and loved ones, it significantly extends the life of your chimney, protects the expensive masonry and joints, and prevents overheating. While built to withstand rugged conditions, they do not last forever. How do you know when it’s time to replace your chimney liner?  

5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Chimney Liner  

Few of us spend a lot of time thinking about our chimney liners; we either buy a house with a system in place or we install it– and promptly forget it. There’s a good reason for this: stainless steel liners last 15 to 20 years; clay tile or cast-in-place liners can last 50 years, while a high-quality stainless-steel liner may set you up with a lifetime warranty. (Keep in mind, though, that lower quality chimney liners may only offer five or so years of useful, safe service.) 

You may not even know how old your chimney liner is! This is why it is so important to be aware of signs that it’s time to replace this essential component.  

  1. The chimney walls are deteriorating. Everything deteriorates over time; it’s a fact of life. But if the walls of your chimney are breaking down at a faster pace than normal, it often means that the liner is not functioning properly. Excess heat and condensation damage the brick and mortar – and they do so relatively quickly.
  2. You have a condensation problem. Condensation is the mortal enemy of your chimney liner; good liners will ensure moisture is vented out. A buildup of condensation can lead to corrosion, and it is also generally associated with poor airflow. As a result, you’ll have fires that produce less heat and generate more creosote. If creosote accumulates, it can lead to situations where carbon monoxide cannot escape and leaks back into the home.
  3. You are converting your fireplace. Say, for example, you are ready to stop stacking firewood and convert your fireplace to gas. Liners are not “one size fits all.” Different types of fuels and fireplace inserts require different venting methods, and often, you need to install the liner directly to the new heating appliance.
  4. The chimney is unlined. Ok, “replace” is not the correct term here because there is no liner to swap out. Liners did not become required until the 1950s; if your home is older, there is a chance that the chimney is not lined. If not, do yourself, your family, and your house a favor: get a liner professionally installed.
  5. A professional says it’s time to replace your chimney liner! Just like most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their chimney liners, they don’t always know what to look for – or have the tools to do a thorough job. This is why it is so crucial to have a professional conduct a full inspection and cleaning each year. They will look for signs of failure or trouble, such as:
  • Broken and/or loose bricks 
  • Deteriorated or missing mortar 
  • Signs of critters in the chimney  
  • Water infiltration 
  • Rusted chase covers 
  • Creosote accumulation
  • Corrosion  
  • Structural soundness  

Can It Wait? 

Is your chimney ok for another year? Can you skip the inspection and cleaning because you’ve never had any issues before? We highly recommend scheduling that appointment. Your safety is our top priority: with an improperly functioning chimney and liner, you put yourself (and the people, possessions, and property you love) at serious risk from fire and CO. Beyond those dire, worst case scenarios, though, you could be reducing your heating system’s efficiency, making your home less comfortable, and setting yourself up for more expensive repairs a year or two down the road.  

The old cliche turns out to be right: better safe than sorry.  

Brick + Ember Outfitters is committed to serving our customers and helping to safeguard your homes and families. Request an appointment and make sure your chimney is ready for the next heating system.