Types of Fireplace Chimneys
Fireplace systems and chimney types can be complex. Explore the different types of fireplace and chimneys to simply understand the way in which they differ.
Masonry Fireplace Chimneys
A masonry chimney is generally constructed on-site by brick masons using brick or stone, cement block, mortar, and clay flue tiles for liners.
Prefabricated Fireplace Chimneys
A factory-built system is a prefab chimney manufactured in a factory and assembled at the job site. It has a metal flue pipe system to vent smoke out of the house. Prefabricated fireplaces are smaller and some have blowers built-in during installation.
All factory-built systems are UL-Rated. Factory-built or “prefab” fireplaces generally have a firebox of cast refractory panels, and usually, some metal is visible in the room all around the firebox. If you look up past the damper, you will see a round metal chimney. Most notably, when looking at the fireplace chimney from the outside of the home, these types of fireplaces have chases constructed much like that of the home itself. (i.e. bat and board, siding, stucco, etc.)
Fireplace Insert Chimneys
Fireplace inserts are a special type of wood stove and are specifically designed to fit into an open masonry fireplace. Since the insert must be smaller than the fireplace opening, there is usually a surround panel attached to the stove which extends out around the fireplace opening to seal the firebox from room air.
A stainless steel liner system should directly connect the stove to the top of the chimney. Many do not. (IMPORTANT: If you think your chimney system is not connected properly please contact a professional for a safety evaluation.)
Full Service Chimney can help if you live in our local Kansas City area. If you live elsewhere in the USA please visit the CSIA Homeowner Resources to Find a Certified Chimney Sweep near you.
Types of Stove Chimneys
Freestanding Stove Chimneys: Freestanding stoves can be connected to chimneys built especially for them. The chimneys may be of masonry construction or be a factory-built metal system that’s been designed, tested and listed for use with wood-burning appliances. Freestanding stoves can also connect to an existing fireplace chimney if the height and position of the stove’s flue collar permit it. With this type of installation, the stoves may be called hearth stoves.
Freestanding stoves now have the option of wood, gas or pellet burning.
NOTE Some types of chimneys are designed only for appliances that burn certain fuels. It could be disastrous to connect a wood stove to a chimney that is designed only for a certain type of fireplace. Also, any adaptations to your fireplace, i.e. glass doors, chimney caps, etc. should be approved by the manufacturer.