How Does A Chimney Work?

Most residential houses have chimneys, even if they’re not actively used. Knowing how a chimney works will give you the opportunity to ensure that your property is well-maintained and that repairs can be carried out when required. Furthermore, when you know how your chimney functions, you can decide how to use the fireplaces in your home.

What Is the Purpose of a Chimney?

When a fire is lit, it produces smoke, which is harmful if breathed in. Although modern properties typically have gas central heating or electric heating, traditional homes relied solely on wood-burning stoves or open fires in order to keep warm. Due to this, it was necessary to incorporate a chimney into the building design, so that the smoke produced from a fire could escape the property.

However, this isn’t the chimney’s only function. As well as allowing smoke to escape, the chimney must draw air into the fireplace, to ensure the fire burns cleanly and produces sufficient heat. Inside the chimney, a channel, known as a flue, maintains a slightly different air temperature to the temperature inside the room. This difference forces the lighter gases, produced by the fire, up through the chimney and draws fresh air into the fire.

Why Do Home’s Still Have Chimneys?

Even though today’s homes are built with other types of heating facilities, a chimney is still a common feature. This is because fireplaces are still widely used today and many homeowners enjoy the added warmth they offer, as well as their decorative appearance. Similarly, a chimney can add to the character of a property and enhance its exterior design.

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Should Chimneys Be Blocked Off?

If you don’t use the fireplaces in your home, you may consider blocking off the chimneys. Property owners often do this to prevent heat loss when the fireplace is no longer used, as it reduces the thermal efficiency of your home, and prevents cold air from entering the room via the chimney. Additionally, many people choose to block a chimney off to prevent pests or birds from entering their homes.

Temporary options, like chimney balloons, can provide the solution you’re looking for, although it is possible to permanently block a chimney off too. However, this is something that should only be carried out by professionals. By using a temporary solution, you retain the option to use the fireplace in the future, should you wish to do so.