Anyone with a chimney has probably heard or knows about chimney insulation. By simple definition, insulation or insulator is a provision that prevents the conduction of heat.
Although there’s sound insulation, it doesn’t apply to chimneys.
We’ll be focusing on chimney insulation as it relates to heat.
Does a Chimney Really Need Insulation?
Insulation will be necessary for your chimney as it helps prevent the steady buildup of creosote. Creosote accumulation has been a problem for centuries as it has led to chimney fires.
By simply fitting insulation around your liner, you’re able to prevent creosote buildup.
Without insulation, cold downdrafts within the chimney are commonplace. This leads to increased heating costs due to loss in temperature. This problem is addressed by insulation.
When a chimney is insulated, cold downdrafts are significantly reduced with your home staying warm even when your fireplace isn’t on.
Whenever a chimney system is installed in a home, it’s installed near masonry where combustibles are closely attached. Now, a great deal of heat passes through chimneys.
Without insulation, combustibles may eventually ignite, thus resulting in fires.
No one wants to deal with such a situation. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your chimney liner is adequately insulated.
Benefits of Chimney Insulation
The benefits of chimney insulation cannot be overemphasized. Now, stainless steel chimney liners are mostly targeted for insulation. Such insulation is necessary as it helps enhance liner efficiency as well as its safety.
With insulation, your chimney flue heats up quickly reaching higher temperatures. With flue gasses hot, there’s less accumulation of creosote, thus extending the lifespan of your flue.
More importantly, less fuel is being consumed for fireplace combustion.
Types of Chimney Insulation
When it comes to chimney insulation, you’ll need to choose between two types. These two insulator types include liner insulation blankets and the pour-down mixture.
The pour-down mixture is also called TherMix insulation or vermiculite pour-down mixture in some quarters.
i. Liner Insulation Blankets
This is the more popular of the two and can withstand temperatures as much as 2100 degrees F. One of the features liner insulation blankets are well known for is their ease of use.
These types of chimney insulators are best used for straight flue and chimneys with ample spaces.
To install, liner insulation blankets will need to be sprayed with an adhesive before being wrapped around the liner. Due to the material liner insulation blankets are made of, it adds to the chimney liner diameter.
This could be a problem for narrow chimneys.
Not for All Chimney Liners
Although liner insulation blankets are great, they won’t fit all chimney types. These insulators are ideal for chimneys with wider spaces.
When a chimney isn’t having much space, you may want to consider using a pour-down mixture. First, consulting with an expert does a lot to help you through this process.
ii. Pour-Down Mixture
This type of chimney insulator consists of vermiculite and Portland cement. The advantage of using this type of insulation is that it fills up any cracks within your masonry work which could turn out to be dangerous.
Tight chimney flues are best insulated using pour-down or vermiculite mix. This is mixed and poured down the chimney liner. It sets or hardens after about a week, thus sealing up any cracks, holes, or clearance.
Certain issues have been identified with pour-down chimney insulators. Such issues have to do with the difficulty in removing damaged liners. When liners get damaged, such will need to be replaced.
With poured-down insulation mixtures, this becomes difficult.
You’ll need to discuss this with your chimney technician or service. The experts will know what best fits your chimney insulation needs.
Chimney Insulation Process: How to Begin
To have your chimney insulated, you’ll need to call a chimney service. For some homeowners, this won’t be necessary as they have an appreciable level of technical know-how.
In other words, DIY insulation strategies are preferred.
Persons within this category have probably performed a chimney installation job in the past. You may still need some advice from a professional as an added advantage.
Chimney Insulation Lifespan
Chimney insulations are designed to serve for as long as your liners remain in good shape. There are times when your chimney liner becomes damaged and need to be replaced. This will require tearing off the insulation.
With a new chimney liner installed, it will need to be insulated to adequately protect the system. On average, a good chimney insulation job should last as long as 2 decades.
This is totally worth the effort and cost.
Chimney insulation is great for enhancing safety and efficiency. We’ve seen the two types of chimney insulators and how they’re installed. The type you need will depend on your chimney diameter and design.
Now that you know better, simply find out what type of chimney you have to determine what insulator to use.