Although fireplaces are one of the most popular features in real estate, fewer and fewer people have the time and energy required to use and maintain a wood burning fireplace. Because of this, converting an open hearth fireplace to fast and efficient gas and oil is an increasingly popular option.
While installing an insert into an existing masonry fireplace is an easy way to change your fireplace’s fuel source, it can unintended consequences for your chimney liner. If you are switching from wood to an oil or gas fireplace, you may need to have your chimney relined in order to avoid internal spalling.
Are chimney liners all the same?
Many homeowners believe that all chimney liners are the same, regardless of what kind of chimney you have. However, there are three different types of chimney liners; the chimney liner that is best for your home depends on what kind of fireplace you have. Fuel source, fireplace size, and usage are all factors that can impact the kind of fireplace liner your home needs.
Heavy liners are the thickest and strong types of fireplace liners. This makes them ideal for use in homes with large, wood burning fireplaces or those that are frequently used. However, this strength also makes them inflexible; chimneys with any significant turns or angles may not do well with this type of liner.
Light chimney liners are the lightest and most flexible kind of chimney liner available. This type of chimney liner may be significantly less expensive because it is lighter; however, it can quickly erode in fireplaces that are heavily used.
High performance liners are the middle option between light and heavy chimney liners. These liners combine the flexibility of light liners with the strength of a heavy liner. Likewise, their moderate price tag makes them more affordable for many homeowners. High performance chimney liners are typically best suited for gas and oil fireplaces and heating appliances.
How your fireplace fuel source affects your chimney liner
When installing a new fireplace into an existing hearth space, it is sometimes necessary to reline the chimney in order for the flue size to be equal to the fireplace size. However, there is another reason why it is important to consider having an old flue relined – switching fuel sources can cause internal spalling to the chimney liner.
The majority of chimneys are built using clay tile liners. While this style of chimney liner is well suited to the creosote, ash, and soot produced by wood burning fires, gas or oil fireplaces can cause the tiles to crack and spall internally. The acidic condensate produced by gas and oil fires is very different from the byproducts of combustion created in a wood burning fire; for this reason it is recommended to have the chimney relined when switching fuel sources.
If you’ve recently changed fuel sources, you may need to have your chimney relined to avoid internal spalling and other liner problems. Contact New Buck Chimney Services today for more information on what kind of chimney liner is best for your fireplace system.