CHIMNEY SAFETY ORGANIZATIONS & STANDARDS
What is the CSIA?
CSIA stands for the Chimney Safety Institute of America. It is a non-profit educational organization that provides chimney and venting safety resources to those in the industry and to you, the homeowner. Their goal is to educate all of us on how to eliminate chimney fires, prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and improve the heating efficiency of our homes. The CSIA provides the only recognized Nationally Certified Exam and is responsible for the National Chimney Sweep Training School. It teaches sweeping and inspection of different chimney systems, operation of the necessary equipment, health and safety considerations and much more. It is a step-by-step, hands-on instruction of the codes, clearances, standards and practices of the chimney service trade.
What is NCSG?
NCSG stands for National Chimney Sweep Guild. It is a national organization of chimney professionals that have come together to promote professionalism in the chimney industry & public awareness of chimney safety issues. NCSG works closely with the other organizations and stongly supports the codes and standards affecting chimney and fireplaces. It also works with the building and service trades, insurance and inspection officials, and others in the hearth industry to promote safe home heating.
What is the NFPA?
NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Association. It is an international non-profit membership organization, founded in 1896 with more than 81,000 members. It is the world's leading advocate of fire prevention and an authoritative source on public safety. It is responsible for developing the codes and standards, continuing research, training, and education.
What is a UL listing?
UL stands for Underwriters Laboratory. It is responsible for setting safety standards and testing for a wide range of industries and appliances. If an appliance or device has a UL listing, it means it has been tested to UL standards as they apply to a particular industry or application and it has passed. The tests are very strict assuring that only safe and reliable products receive the UL listing. A UL listing informs the consumer that the product he/she is buying has been suitably tested and found acceptable for the application for which it was intended. All of our TOP-Flex and TOP-Rigid Lining systems are UL Listed and Tested.
The INTERIOR of your CHIMNEY
How can I prevent a “chimney fire” in my chimney?
Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year. When building a fire, use dry wood and never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, or trash. These items can spark a fire in your venting system. Build smaller, hotter fires that will burn more completely and produce less smoke. Attaching a stove thermometer to your stovepipe or stove door can help you monitor the temperature of your flue.
How do I know if my chimney needs to be cleaned?
If you see any of the following, it is time to have your chimney cleaned. There is soot dripping into your fireplace, signs of tar build-up, a strong odor coming from your fireplace or stove, reduced draft causing smoke to back up into your home, a critter has made a home in your system, or you just purchased your home and the previous owners could not tell you when it was last serviced.
How often do I need my chimney swept?
All working systems should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year no matter what they are venting. Systems venting wood burning appliances or stoves need to be cleaned more frequently as they create a greater creosote build-up.
What is the purpose of a Chimney Liner?
Most masonry chimneys are made of brick or cement block on the exterior, then have another liner on the inside. The purpose of this inner liner is to keep the heat of flue gases inside the chimney, so not to overheat the nearby combustibles, such as the framing and walls of your home, and possibly cause a fire. The liner is also crucial for keeping carbon monoxide, moisture, smoke, creosote, and other products of combustion from seeping through the bricks and mortar of your chimney and leaking into your home.
Do all chimneys have liners?
No. Some chimneys built before 1940 most likely were not built with inner liners. They were brick, stone, or cement block with nothing else inside. Chimneys constructed after that, were most likely built with an inner liner of clay flue tiles. The tiles, approximately 2-3 feet in length, are stacked and sealed together with mortar. This is indeed safer than no liner, but be aware that over time, the mortar joints between the tiles can break down or the tiles can crack. If this sounds like your chimney, it may be time to have your chimney lined or re-lined. Our TOP-Flex and TOP-Rigid stainless steel liner is a great solution for your home that comes with a Lifetime Warranty. It is UL Listed and meets all the criteria for chimney safety as indicated by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) code 211.
If my chimney has clay tiles, can’t I just replace the original clay flue tiles?
Yes, you can, however our stainless steel liners come with a LIFETIME WARRANTY and if installed correctly should never have to be replaced. Clay flue tiles will most likely crack again creating a recurring safety issue in your home.
What should I do before installing my chimney with a new liner?
First, make sure your chimney has been thoroughly inspected and any repairs needed, such as repairing loose or missing mortar joints between the tiles, replace any cracked tiles or missing bricks, and close any unused holes in your system, have been completed. Next, your chimney should be clean and free of all creosote, debris or other obstructions.
Be knowledgeable of the codes, such as NFPA 211, that requires your chimney to be a minimum of 3 feet high from where it passes through your roof and meets the 10:2 ratio where your chimney is at least 2 feet higher than any part of the roof within 10 feet measured horizontally.
Make sure there is only one coal or wood burning appliance connected to a single chimney flue. Wood burning appliances should NOT be connected to any flue venting a gas fired appliance.
What is the difference between a TOP-Flex flexible lining system or a TOP-Rigid lining system, and Which one should I use?
TOP-Flex is a flexible one piece liner that can be maneuvered easily through offsets in the chimney. The TOP-Rigid system consists of sections (12”, 18”, 24”, 36”, 48”) of rigid pipe that are attached together with rivets. Each chimney is unique, if the inside of your chimney has offsets (or turns), a flexible liner will be easier to install. However, if your chimney is short and strait (12 feet or under), a rigid lining system would be an option.
How do I know what BEST Lining System to install?
Proceed to our HOME page and select your venting method.
My fireplace smokes a lot on the inside and when I am not using it my house smells.
What can I do?
To eliminate the smell, a product called Fireplace Deodorant can help! There could be several reasons why the smoke is not drafting properly out your chimney flue, so it is always a good idea to have your chimney inspected and/or cleaned for any serious issues. It may be a simple solution like installing a Smokeguard on the front of the fireplace if the opening is too large. For more helpful tips consult the Chimney Trouble Shooting Guide.
The EXTERIOR of your CHIMNEY
If the crown on the top of my chimney is starting to crack and deteriorate what can I use to repair it?
If the mortar crown is loose, crumbling or severely deteriorated, it should be replaced with a new cast-in place concrete crown. However, if the crown is damaged but structurally sound, larger cracks and voids can be filled with a patching cement or high quality caulk then covered with Crown Coat.
What can I use to repair the minor cracks on my brick chimney?
Crack Magic is a highly durable silicone elastomer (think of it as a paintable caulk) that is perfect for repairing cracks up to 1/8" wide. It's easily applied with a brush and dries in about 6 hours to a milky white film that will not significantly change your chimney's appearance!
What is the white substance on the outside of my chimney?
This is known as efflorescence. It is the product of an un-lined chimney or a clay lined chimney with cracks and or missing mortar joints between the tiles allowing acidic condensation and moisture to bleed through the masonry structure causing it to turn “white”. A TOP-Flex liner will create a sealed system containing the acidic condensate and preventing this from happening in the future! One solution to remove the white stains from your chimney is with Brick & Mortar Cleaner.
The TOP of your CHIMNEY
I have rain coming down the inside of my fireplace. What can I do?
You may want to install a chimney cap or top sealing damper to the top of your chimney that will prevent water from entering into your lining system. If you currently have one, you may want to inspect the “crown” of your chimney for any cracks or other needed repair.
There are bats in my fireplace! Please help?!
You need to enclose or close off your chimney when it is not in use, so bats or other critters don’t make it their new home. A top sealing damper or stainless steel chimney cap is what you need!
What is a chimney cap?
A chimney cap attaches to the top of a chimney. It’s purpose is to protect the inside of the chimney, keep sparks and cinders in, and keeps critters out! Multi-Flue chimney caps cover more than one opening on the top of your chimney and are also important for protecting the “crown” or top of your chimney. This makes it less susceptible to the weather, therefore lasting longer.
I know I need a cap that covers the two flues in my chimney. How do I know what size Multi- Flue Chimney Cap to get?
You need to measure the outside perimeter of the top of your chimney and subtract 3" from each side. This will tell you what size screen you need. Next, measure the height of the highest protrusion or flue tile extending out of the chimney. The Height of the chimney cap should be a minimum of 6” from the highest protrusion, therefore you will need to add 6” to that number.
For example, the outside of brick measures 23"x35" and the flue tile sticks up 4". You will need to subtract 3” per side, which you get 17”x29” and add 6” for the height requirement. The above chimney will need a 17"x29" Multi-Flue Cap with a 10" height = MF172910.