Understanding Cracked Chimney Flue Tiles
Most chimneys in downtown Buffalo, Rochester, and western New York were initially constructed with a clay tile flue liner. The flue liner is a crucial component of your chimney system as it ensures the safe and efficient venting of smoke and harmful gases from your home. However, these clay tiles can develop cracks and damage with time, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Moreover, as the pressure inside the flue continues to build, it causes a significant rise in internal temperature. This excessive heat can then cause more tiles to burst, allowing the heat to spread to nearby combustible building materials, such as your attic and roof deck, which can result in a traffic house fire.
This article will give homeowners a better understanding of cracked chimney flue tiles, some of the most common causes, and how to cure them.
We have observed that clay flue tiles may fail prematurely due to improper chimney construction or the installation of a new, more efficient heating appliance in an incorrectly sized flue. Installing a new, more efficient heating appliance in an incorrectly sized flue can also cause premature failure of clay flue tiles. This is because the new appliance may produce more heat than the old appliance, which can cause the flue tiles to crack. This is a common cause of cracked tiles.
Water damage is a frequent cause of cracked chimney flue tiles in the Niagara Falls region, particularly during winter when strong winds bring heavy snow due to the lake effect. When water seeps into your chimney, it combines with the combustion gases, gradually weakening the clay tiles until they eventually crack. You may even notice small pieces of clay material chipped off in your firebox.
Burning wood produces corrosive gases and chemicals that can damage the flue tiles. This is especially true if you burn softwood like pine or fir. Cracked flue tiles can be severe as heat, smoke, and toxic gases leak inside your home. Additionally, the accumulation of creosote, a flammable substance, can lead to a house fire. That’s why it is so important to regularly inspect and maintain your chimney, vents, and attached heating appliances to prevent these potential hazards.
How to Cure Cracked Chimney Flue Tiles
If you have cracked flue tiles, they can usually be repaired by replacing the damaged tiles or by applying our HeatShield® repair system. However, if the damage is extensive, we may recommend relining your flue with a new liner material like stainless steel. After evaluating the flue’s condition, our Certified Chimney Sweep® will recommend the best options for curing damaged or missing flue tiles.
Preventing Flue Liner Problems
Having your chimney inspected and cleaned annually by a professional sweep is the most effective way to prevent flue liner problems. We can’t stress this enough, as it will help identify any issues with your flue tiles, such as cracking, peeling, or blistering. It will also help prolong the lifespan of the liner.
From chimney inspection and cleaning to flue liner repairs and relining, Felgemacher Fireplace Shop in Buffalo (Cheektowaga), NY, has everything your hearth desires to enjoy your fireplace safely. Call (716) 482-1820 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today!