do I need liners

bigds01October 20, 2011

My home is from 1885 and I have two fireplaces and neither chimney is lined. They are cleaned out. Clearly they have been used for the last 120 years.

Is it safe for us to use?. Of course the chimney guy said you need a liner, oh and btw i sell them.

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Unlined chimneys are a real danger in the event of a chimney fire. In nearly 150 years there has been some inevitable deterioration of the mortar between the chimney bricks. The intense heat and embers produced in a chimney fire can ignite the century+ wood framing should these cracks provide a path out of the chimney. Cheap insurance to install liners and your insurance company may insist on it.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 4:56AM
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Yes, you almost certainly need a liner. It only takes 1 ember escaping between flue tiles to make your 150 year old house a memory. I can't really imagine mortar being totally intact after 150 years. It is cheap insurance and will give you peace of mind if you are going to use the fireplace that you won't burn down the house.
If you are leery of the sales pitch, see if your insurance company will send an inspector. In reality though I would be surprised if you could find anyone who would be willing to sign on the dotted line that you DON'T need a liner. It's a huge liability risk and they don't want your insurance company coming to them 4 years from now looking to get reimbursed for the cost of rebuilding your house.
Shop around and get several prices from chimney companies if possible. I think you will see that prices can be all over the map. And don't necessarily go with the lowest bid either. Remember, you get what you pay for...
BTW, I went through all of this about 6 or 7 years ago and was very happy with the outcome. Cost me almost $3k, but it eliminated the smoke on the 2nd floor when having a fire due to leaking from between the tiles....

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 3:35AM
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Our chimneys were in a sorry state when we bought our house in 2005 and got quotes from $2,500 to $3,000 for repairs and liners. A lot of this was due to the fact that the fireplaces had 12x12 and 12x14 flues and that size stainless liner is plain expensive.

We just wanted heat so we went with a fireplace insert in one and a freestanding stove in the other which each only needed 6 inch liners. We still have the ambiance of a fireplace with the insert but it was much safer, much cheaper and we get actual heat from it rather than the heat being sucked up the chimney from the fireplace. I'm not sure what your heating needs are vs ambiance and atmosphere but there are a lot of options out there.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 11:20PM
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