Types of Chimneys
When you ask people how many types of chimneys there are, they often think, “Two: the brick ones and the metal stacks.” When you ask chimney sweeps, some say “Two: masonry and prefabricated.” The rest – the ones certified by the CSIA to maintain fire safety standards, may also say two – “clean and safe, or risky.”
Semantics aside, the latter invariably answer the question very differently than almost anyone else. “The chimney” – to certified sweeps – is a vent that maintains the safety of the home. Thought about that way, there are as many types of chimneys as there are houses. Even if we assume that all conditions and circumstances are identical as far as the house goes, there is still an amazing array of different chimneys.
Too Many To Count
When you ask a certified sweep your question is another matter entirely and one a few may answer, “Are you kidding?” Chimneys have to be completely compatible with the things they are venting and fire safety codes. Those fire safety standards exist at both the national level and in municipal codes — where they are as varied as municipalities.
Certified sweeps do not think in terms of decor. They think of ‘the proper sizing of the flue for the firebox of a decorative heating appliance’. Their interest in the choice between pointed or tuck pointed masonry is which can do the better job of deflecting water away from the chase. They see things from a completely different point of view that makes it impossible to say how many types of chimneys there are.
There are as many types as it takes to make the chimney an ideal fit with the firebox beneath it and the structure around it. There are as many as needed to achieve the safest and most efficient venting of the house as a single system. They may still answer “two”, but a certified chimney sweep is focused on safety. Hiring a professional when updating or installing a new chimney is critical to make sure you are giving your home efficient ventilation.