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How Do Chimneys Work?

The chimney is an important part of a residential heating system. Knowing how it works can help you diagnose potential problems and know when you need to call for professional chimney repair. Today Hader Solutions shares an overview of how chimneys work.

How Chimneys Work

A fireplace, furnace or boiler burns fuel to generate indoor heating, which is distributed throughout the house using blowers and ducts, as well as by circulating hot water, in the case of hydronic systems. As fuel is consumed, unwanted byproducts such as smoke and soot are also generated, which are released outside through a chimney.

A chimney is basically a length of brick, stone or concrete that extends vertically from the firebox, the enclosure where the fuel is burned. Since hot air rises, the byproducts of burned wood, oil or gas are taken along with the hot air, and are then released outside. The flue is the conduit through which the hot air and smoke moves. It runs the length of the chimney, and is fitted with chimney liners to prevent heat damage to the stack. A damper keeps the chimney shut when not in use, and protects the home from rainwater and small animals. The top of the chimney is covered with a spark arrestor, a screen that protects the roof from fire hazards.

Getting the Most Out of Your Chimney

Chimneys make it possible to provide heating without the soot and smoke that comes with burning fuel filling your home. It all has to go somewhere, however. In the case of soot, which tends to collect on the flue, regular cleaning is essential. The damper must also be checked regularly to ensure that it will close and open when it needs to.

Proper airflow is essential. As the hot air gets expelled from the chimney, it changes the indoor air pressure, similar to what happens when you suck a juice box dry. Modern homes are made to be airtight for better energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality, and therefore there must be a way to let fresh air in to compensate for the pressure difference. The soltion could be as simple as opening a window, but you probably don’t want to do that in the middle of winter. A capable chimney contractor can help you choose the right type of intake vent for your chimney, which will allow for the proper amount of airflow.

Hader Solutions’ Chimney Solutions

To learn more about chimneys and HVAC systems, call Hader Solutions today at (513) 612-9201. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve Cincinnati and surrounding areas.

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