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The different types of flue repair include installing a chimney liner, replacing damaged flue tiles by hand, or replacing the entire flue unit. The type of flue repair chosen by the home owner may be determined by the heating unit the chimney services and the budget allocated for the repair. Most types of repair should typically be undertaken by contracted professionals due to the high risk potential heating elements pose in starting house fires.
A flue is any type of pipe that serves to direct heat and exhaust fumes away from home heating elements, such as fireplaces, water heaters, and wood burning stoves. These devices are typically constructed of heat resistant materials, such as galvanized steel and brick. This type of piping can become damaged over time due to age, heat stress, and weathering. Damaged flues in need of repair most often contain cracked lining tiles, cracked piping, or open mortar joints between tiles.
Installing a chimney liner is one form of flue repair. A chimney liner may be made from any type of non-combustible material that provides insulation. They are typically designed from ceramic, clay brick, or similar composite materials.
A chimney liner is typically installed by a contracted professional. It often is poured directly into the flue area around a pre-fabricated template that matches the design specifications of the chimney. Once applied, the liner serves to separate the flue from the other building materials in the home. This lining can prevent chimney fires and also prevent any harmful gases that may be emitted by the heating element from entering the breathable air of the home. Chimney liners are generally priced according to the square footage of the flue plus an installation fee.
Replacing only the damaged tiles and open mortar joints is another type of flue repair and can often be accomplished by the home owner. Though it is very affordable, this can be one of the most difficult repairs to perform. Flue tiles line a chimney from top to bottom and may crack at any point along the structure. Tiles that crack at the top or bottom openings may be reached with relative ease and replaced. Tiles in need of repair in the center of the flue typically must be fixed by a chimney repair expert. Only fire resistant mortar should be used to repair these areas.
Replacing the entire chimney unit is the most costly type of flue repair. This may be a more desirable option for heating elements that vent into a galvanized steel pipe rather than a mortar and brick chimney. Metal flues are available in standard sizing from most local home improvement stores and through the Internet for almost any type of water heater, oil burner, and wood burning stove. Cracks in old piping can cause harmful gases to vent into the home and present fire hazards. This type of flue is generally too small for use with a chimney lining, making new piping the safest alternative available in such situations.
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