If you live in an older home, you are most likely familiar with updating the systems in your home to keep everything up to modern building codes, but did you know that you should also make sure your chimney and fireplace system have been updated to current standards as well? Often, homeowners focus on the electrical and plumbing systems of their older homes and forget about updating the chimney. Your chimney could be putting you at risk for draft issues, chimney fires, and carbon monoxide leaks if it does not meet modern building codes. To help you ensure your chimney is up to modern standards, The Mad Hatter can inspect your chimney and make recommendations for the work needed to update your chimney. We would like to tell you about the most common things we find in older chimneys that need updating.
Is the chimney lined properly?
If your home was built in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, it is quite probable that the chimney was not built with a liner because it was not until the early 20th century that it was recommended to install a flue liner. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) reports that the National Bureau of Standards began testing masonry chimneys due to growing concerns about the safety and performance. They found that unlined chimneys were so dangerous that building a chimney without a liner was “a little less than criminal.” These tests caused many cities and states to require chimney liners, and now fire codes mandate liners. Why are chimney liners so important? They protect your home from the extremely high temperatures produced in the chimney, which could ignite the surrounding wood to cause a residential fire. They also protect the bricks and mortar of your chimney from the corrosive byproducts of combustion. Chimney liners also keep these toxic byproducts from getting into your home by providing a correctly sized flue for your heating appliance. If your chimney is unlined, The Mad Hatter can install a durable stainless steel liner that will bring your chimney up to codes.
Is the chimney height tall enough?
Another common problem The Mad Hatter finds with older chimneys is that the chimney is not tall enough to meet current building codes and standards. The chimney needs to extend three feet above the roof penetration on the shortest side. The top of the chimney should be two feet higher than any part of your home within 10 feet. These height requirements ensure that anything hot coming out of the top of the chimney will not catch your home on fire. Also, in order to produce the correct draft needed to pull the exhaust out of the chimney, the chimney height needs to be taller than other parts of your home, which could hinder the draft. Our experienced chimney masons can add height to your chimney so that it meets these requirements, which will improve both the safety and performance of your chimney.
If you live in an older home and are unsure if your chimney needs updating, contact us at The Mad Hatter today. We can inspect your chimney to see if it is up to modern codes and standards and make the necessary changes to update it correctly.