On top of Old Smokey, all covered in soot!

‘A chimney is a system for venting hot flue gases or smoke from a boiler, stove, furnace or fireplace to the outside atmosphere. They are typically almost vertical to ensure that the hot gases flow smoothly, drawing air into the combustion through the chimney effect (also known as the stack effect). The space inside a chimney is called a flue. Chimneys may be found in buildings, steam locomotives and ships’.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimney

Today I will be discussing those chimneys found in houses…

There are a few different types of chimney that can be seen on houses:

  • Traditional brick-built chimneys
  • Prefabricated chimneys
  • Precast flues
  • Balanced flues
  • Fanned flues

Traditional brick-built chimneys are great for fires and stoves. They are generally deep, thus giving you the choice-in-size of fire / stove you require!

Prefabricated chimneys / flues are suitable for most stoves or gas fires – they are also generally deep, so the choice-in-size for your fire, is usually varied!

Precast flues are commonly found in modern homes – in the 1970’s builders started to install this type of flue in houses, as a space-saving method… Built into the structure of the house, they are constructed from pre-cast concrete blocks and are generally suited to smaller, more slim-line fires and stoves!

(As a note; I will not be going into any depth regarding balanced and fanned flues in this article – I have another article I am writing that I will publish soon, which covers these topics in much greater depth…)

Some helpful tips for chimneys:

  1. A well-built, well-maintained chimney can last for years!
  2. A chimney should be checked regularly by a builder for any repointing, or repairs that need doing!
  3. If coal is being burned in your fire / stove, then the chimney should be swept twice, yearly – for wood, double this figure… Soot and tar must be cleaned regularly, as if left to build up, this could easily result in a chimney fire!
  4. If solid fuels are being burning, then fitting a spark arrestor on the top of your chimney is a good idea, as rising sparks can also cause fires!

So, is a real fireplace and chimney worth all the effort?

I think its really just a matter of opinion or choice. What I mean is, its really all about what you are looking for… What kind of room-effect you are trying to achieve!

In most houses (it was the case in my parents house and in my house too), the chimney comes as an inherent feature… 😉 The upside… It doesn’t need cleaning if you don’t burn solid fuels!

Heck! It could simply be blocked off if you don’t want a fire!


If you do have the will… A real fireplace can be a commodity worth fighting for… 🙂

Over and out!

Buck 😉

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 3:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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