Fires in your fireplace can reach extremely high temperatures.  A stainless steel chimney liner protects adjacent woodwork and other combustibles from the transfer of this extreme heat. After time, the caustic byproducts of combustion eat away at the mortar joints of a flue system lined with terracotta flue tiles. This makes for an extremely dangerous situation; the fireplace is now susceptible to a chimney fire, putting the entire home and family at risk. Often times a dryer vent or furnace will need to be relined as well, as damages occur in these flue systems over time as well.

The masonry surrounding a fireplace, in the flue system, smoke chamber, and firebox is all susceptible to damage from the corrosive byproducts of combustion. The acidic nature of flue gasses actually eat away at the mortar joints of the flue system in between the flue tiles, allowing more heat to be transferred to nearby combustibles. Since these gasses are not being properly contained and vented, deadly gases such as carbon monoxide can leak into the home itself.

Another sure plus of installing a stainless steel flue liner is to optimize the efficiency of any appliance. In order for optimum draw, the ratio between the size of the firebox and flue system must be just so, or else there is a risk of smoking problems. Your heating unit (insert, woodburner, etc.) will detail exactly what sized flue system will make for the best ventilation system. The chimney in your home was built to the size of the existing firebox. Since an insert or wood burning stove is obviously not the same size as the opening made for the firebox, adjustments must be made in the flue system as well to reduce the risk of back up and smoking issues. Most appliances call for a 6″ of 8″ flue system, while most standard chimney flue systems are 12×12″.

Stainless steel chimney liners are recommended for oil furnaces, wood boilers, gas furnaces, pellet stoves,   fireplace inserts, and modern wood stoves, so long as they are properly sized. These liner systems help reduce the transfer of heat to nearby combustibles and add to the overall efficiency of any heating appliance in your home. It is imperative to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when sizing and installing any stainless steel liner.

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

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Clay Lamb

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2 thoughts on “Benefits of Installing a Stainless Steel Chimney

  1. How long should a stainless steel chimney liner last. I am replacing my 15 year old wood fireplace insert and the stove store told me I would also probably need to replace my stainless steel liner. I thought they were suppose to last a lifetime.

  2. Cathy,

    Every situation is different with a stainless steel chimney liner, however most companies guarantee a lifetime warranty on the product so long as it is serviced regularly. If a chimney fire has taken place, this may be a reason they are suggesting a replacement. Also, if your new fireplace insert requires a liner that is not the same size as your current liner, that is another reason for replacement seeing that the liner must be of uniform diameter throughout the chimney.

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