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Proper Chimney Venting

Thursday, October 29, 2009 Posted by Stephanie H.

Making sure your chimney system is set up to properly vent is crucial to increasing its efficiency and for keeping it safe. An improperly installed or damaged system can lead to risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires.

Having the correct sizing when installing your chimney system is critical in order for proper venting. If an oversize vent is installed, your chimney will not allow the heat to warm up your home before leaving the chimney. This will severely decrease the inefficiency of your heating unit and can increase your heating cost. If you have an undersized vent, it will not allow the air to properly rise and can cause the smoke to back up into your home. Proper vent sizing plays an important role in having a reliable and efficient chimney system.

It’s also important to remember that a certain amount of heat is necessary in order to provide the draft that makes the venting system work, and to keep the chimney walls warm enough to prevent condensation of the exhaust gases. If your flue temperature drops too low there are two different problems that can occur – improper drafting and water condensation. Improper drafting can lead to hazardous gases backing up into your home. Water condensation can lead to creosote build-up and then to the eventual corrosion of your chimney. Creosote buildup can lead to blockage and corrosion of the flue or even a chimney fire. It also will reduce the performance and the life of your chimney system.

Other symptoms that could point to a venting system problem include:

  • Damp patches on interior or exterior walls
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Blistered paint
  • Stains on the ceiling around the chimney
  • White stains (efflorescence) on the outside of the masonry chimney
  • Eroded mortar joints
  • Crumbling bricks

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