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If you have a chimney that burns gas, oil or even solid fuels, you will definitely want to look into a chimney liner in order to help protect your home from possible fires or other hazards brought on by unlined chimneys. At first glance, it may seem like an unnecessary addition, but in reality, a chimney liner can save you lots and lots of money….or even your home from possible fire.

So what are the reasons most people get a chimney liner?

Why Does My Chimney Need a Liner? 

Whether you use your fireplace for wood-burning fires or gas, your chimney needs to be able to take the heat no matter the weather. Now stone or brick chimneys can be made safe to protect your home with a flue lining that helps to move heat and gases up and out.

Chimney liners are a protective barrier usually made of metal or ceramic. Liners insulate heat moving through the chimney, protecting flammable areas of your home’s structure. They also protect flue masonry from cracks or crumbling mortar due to repeated heating and cooling which is a real problem no matter the time of year.

Cracks or damage in the liner can kill the effective nature of it, which make burning anything in your fireplace or wood stove worse than risky. Plus, if your liner is damaged, you may have a hard time passing a home inspection and selling your house until it’s repaired or replaced.

If you have an older chimney, it’s not likely it has anyexisting lining. Back in the day, chimneys were completely unlined or only lined with clay tiles, which could crack or break relatively easily. If you have an older home, an excellent first step is to have a masonry or chimney expert examine your chimney and assess it’s overall condition.

Do you burn wood in your fireplace regularly? You should definitely have your chimney liner inspected as part of its upkeep and maintenance at least once a year. Cleaning is a good idea as well: The products of burning wood, called creosote, can build up in your unlined or improperly lined chimney, and may eventually cause a fire.

But what if you don’t have a chimney liner at all?

If your home is older and you’ve determined that your home only has the stone or brick of the outer chimney,  and if you burn wood in your fireplace or in a wood-burning stove, it’s recommended that you have a stainless-steel liner to prevent overheating your chimney and risking a fire. In some locations, your city’s fire code may mandate that you install such a liner if you’re making any changes to or installing a wood-burning stove or fireplace.

However, if you’re not using your fireplace and your chimney acts solely as a vent for your furnace or water heater, you may not need to have a liner installed. Cracked masonry should be addressed from an energy-savings perspective — a lot of air could be escaping from your home, depending on where the damage to the chimney is located,

Homeowners with gas or electric inserts most likely do not need a new liner because those types of fuel don’t produce enough heat to damage a masonry chimney.