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Why Fit a Chimney Flue Liner

Saturday 05 Oct 2019

Brewer Cowls is one of the UK’s leading chimney cowl manufacturers. With over 50 years’ experience, we stock the most comprehensive range of chimney cowls, birdguards and chimney cappers and help our customers with special sizes, unusually shaped and personalised chimney cowl orders. 

We’re often asked by our customers about chimney liners, so we have provided some information below outlining what exactly they are for. Our helpful team are more than happy to discuss your chimney setup and provide information about how best to protect your chimney and home.

Are chimney flue liners really necessary?

Many people ask this question – after all, what are chimneys for but to allow smoke to escape from the fireplace and out into the atmosphere above your roof? So why should anyone go to the expense of chimney liner installation when they already have a perfectly good chimney? While we specialise in chimney cowls and caps, we also provide chimney flue terminals. We have years of experience with chimneys of all sorts and sizes, so we’re ideally placed to give some answers.

What is a chimney flue liner?

If you have an ageing brick chimney, it is likely that it’s neither safe nor efficient. Lining it with another impervious and airtight material will improve it in both ways. Since 1965, Building Regulations advise that any chimneys built would do well to have suitable flue liners, and today, most stove and fire manufacturers require their appliances to be used only with chimneys which are properly lined. BFCMA, the British Flue & Chimney Manufacturers Association, also outlines the latest guidance on the installation of chimneys and flues in Document J that can be accessed here.

Flue liners come in a range of materials, the most common being the stainless-steel chimney liner, either rigid or flexible. It’s important that stainless steel liners are not used with wood burning or multi fuel appliances, but certain steel liners can be used with gas fuel systems.

Usually the two types of stainless steel flexible chimney liners include:

  • Twin skin liner – to be used with wood and multi-fuel appliances
  • Single skin liners – to be used with gas appliances

Do I need to line my chimney flue?

If your property was built after 1965, it may already have a lined chimney. Building Regulations don’t insist that you must install a flue liner, however, if you’re fitting a wood-burning stove, for example, your existing chimney must pass a smoke test to prove that it’s sound. It also needs to be a suitable diameter to fit the stove, and meet the parameters laid down by the stove manufacturer as well as passing Building Regs, so in this case, the most likely answer is yes, you do need to line your chimney flue.

What might happen if I choose not to line my chimney?

  • You might have a chimney fire – flue liners, including wood stove chimney liners, are smooth so prevent the build-up of tar, soot and creosote in the crevices of a brick chimney which could catch fire. They also act as a barrier, preventing excessive heat and corrosion.
  • Harmful gases and smoke could leak into your home – toxic gases like carbon monoxide are produced when burning fuel in a stove or open fireplace. Wood burning stove flue liners create a safe passage for gases and smoke as they pass up the chimney
  • Your existing chimney could be damaged – not only the heat but also condensation can cause deterioration to chimney masonry if there’s no liner.
  • Your fire will be less efficient – with a flue liner, there’s more heat present in the chimney and the upward flow of air is improved, reducing wood or other fuel consumption

How does a chimney flue terminal help?

Here at Brewer Cowls, we supply a range of chimney cowls and chimney caps that fit onto the top of a flue liner. Our stainless-steel flue terminals are used to protect the chimney from the weather, birds nesting and debris falling down the flue. They work without restricting the draw of the chimney.

Sometimes, downdraught and smoke blow-back occur in a chimney flue lining, especially if the wind is blowing in a certain direction. Anti-downdraught terminals will prevent or at the very least reduce this effect, allowing your fire to perform efficiently to heat your home.

Brewer Cowls are the only specialist cowl manufacturer within the BFCMA and we successfully help our customers with a range of bespoke and speciality shaped chimney cowls.

Contact us today for friendly advice on your chimney.

How to Stop Chimney Wind Noise

Wednesday 12 Dec 2018

The Brewer Cowls team is often asked about wind noise issues in the chimney, and how to stop it. We have to agree that this is one of the most frustrating issues that can be caused by an open chimney, particularly when the weather outside is cold, windy, and unpleasant.

What Causes Chimney Wind Noise

A  chimney is great at transporting noise. The hollow interior provides the perfect noise-tunnel from outside to into the home. Whether or not you live in a particularly windy area or not, chances are that at some point you will hear the howling of the wind as it enters your chimney and travels into your home.

Chimney noise is mostly caused when wind blows over the top of a chimney flue or pot which does not have a chimney cowl fitted. A noisy chimney can also be caused by a damaged chimney cowl or birdguard being in position.

So, what can you do to prevent noise caused by wind in the chimney?

Begin by figuring out exactly what is causing the noise. Though you are sure it is wind causing the issue, there are actually a couple of reasons why your chimney may be producing more wind noise than usual.

  • Stack Effect. If your home has a higher chimney, the airflow increases if the temperature outside is cold and warm inside. So, on those evenings when the heating is switched on because it is cold (and more than likely windy, too!) there will be an increased amount of air travelling up the chimney.
  • Rural Locations. For some, living in rural locations is the perfect place to be. But, if your home sits alone and away from neighbouring properties then chances are any wind noises will be exaggerated because the wind has fewer obstacles to break its impact. 

Another chimney noise issue that is often described as a ‘loud banging noise’ from the chimney can be caused if a chimney cowl becomes loose in high winds. Brewer Cowl advises that in these cases you never ignore this noise, and call out a fully qualified fitter to investigate. Often in these instances, purchasing a new chimney cowl is the best option.

Chimney Cowls to Prevent Wind Noise

Chimney cowls offer a number of features to aid your chimney’s performance. One of them – the anti downdraught cowl can help provide a solution to preventing wind entering the chimney.

In particular the Lobster Back chimney cowls can help here, as they turn to have their back to the wind. Likewise, the spinning or rotating cowl could help prevent wind. Unfortunately, as each home and chimney is different, it could take you a few attempts to figure out which cowl is the most suitable for your chimney.   

There are a variety of anti-downdraught chimney cowls available for different chimneys. These include the Windmaster which comes in different sizes between 100 – 300mm. As this type of chimney cowl prevents downdraught, it is also useful for homes with wood burning stoves to stop smoke from blowing back down the chimney and into the home.

Another type of chimney product to help prevent noise caused by wind is the chimney balloon, which can be inflated inside your chimney to block the wind from travelling down the chimney shaft. A chimney balloon is also particularly useful if you are experiencing a cold draught from the chimney and slight noise issues from the wind.  Many of our customers use chimney balloons in the summer months when the fireplace is not in use as a chimney balloon must not be used if you require the use of your chimney. 

Brewer Cowls always recommends following the manufacturers instructions and to always remove a chimney ballon before lighting a fire.

Chimney Cowl Accessories to Reduce Noise

Perhaps you would prefer to add an accessory to your current chimney cowl to help reduce the noise. Brewer Cowls stocks the Peacemaker – a special noise reducing mat – to be placed on the top of your existing chimney cowl.

The Peacemaker may not reduce the noise of your chimney, but can help tackle annoying sounds caused from rain and birds that have landed on the metal cowl.

Noise Reducing Chimney Cowls

A chimney is a welcome addition to many modern and traditional homes and the key to getting the most out of this character feature is by using the correct products to solve any issues, such as wind noise. The Brewer Cowls team are happy to help talk through the issues you are experiencing with your chimney and offer expert advice as to which chimney cowl, balloon, or other specialist chimney product you require to keep your home, and chimney, happy.

Why not try our useful Chimney Cowl finder to help narrow down your search.

Chimney Cowls for Wood Burners

Tuesday 20 Nov 2018

Wood burners, also known as log burners and wood stoves, are a welcome addition to many homes across the country. As a powerful heat source for your home, the benefits of a wood burner are easy to recognise.

Keeping your log burner working correctly ensures optimum safety and efficiency when relying on the wood burner to heat the rooms around your home. By choosing the right chimney cowl for your wood burner, you will increase the performance output of the device and help keep your home properly ventilated, if there is already a downdraught problem.

A chimney cowl is an extremely useful added extra to your home’s chimney. With windy conditions and/or surrounding buildings causing a downdraught, a cowl keeps your home free from the harmful and unpleasant odorous fumes that can make their way back down the chimney and into your home.

Wood Burning Stove - Problems and Solutions

Contemporary wood burning stoves are feature elements in both modern and traditional homes. But, though the crackle and pop of your wood burner may be the perfect finishing touch to your home, they certainly aren’t without their problems.

 Common issues with wood burner stoves include; 

  • Obstructed Flue. The purpose of your flue is simple, yet crucial, to the efficiency of your log burner. Your flue provides ventilation to the harmful smokes that could otherwise enter your home. The flue can easily become obstructed with debris, birds and other matter from the outside that can build up over time. Making sure you regularly have your chimney swept and make use of chimney cowls which help prevent ingress of birds and other debris from entering your chimney in the first place.
  • Excess Smoke. There are a variety of reasons your wood burner could be producing excess smoke. By regularly maintaining and cleaning the inside of your wood stove and burning only seasoned logs you can help keep your home properly ventilated.  

Choosing a Chimney Cowl for a Wood Burner

With a wide range of chimney cowls available to help prevent problems such as downdraught and nesting inside the chimney, it is still important to choose a chimney cowl best suited to dealing with the large volume of smoke created by wood burning stoves.

 A recent addition to the types of wood burner stove chimney cowls available is the FlueCube chimney cowl that helps your wood burner burn more efficiently by effectively reducing the downdraught in your chimney. The flue cowl stabilises the burn within the stove by creating a positive draw of air through the flue system. 

FlueCube chimney cowl

 

Available in a variety of colours, a FlueCube chimney cowl increases the efficiency of your wood burner stove and creates the best possible conditions for lighting your chosen firewood.

Even if weather conditions or buildings around your home are not creating any issues with downdraught, it is still advisable to consider purchasing a chimney cowl to prevent rain, debris and nesting birds from entering the chimney.

In fact, chimney cowls are often simply purchased for just this reason. A large concern for homeowners with open chimneys is that birds are often on the lookout for somewhere warm and cosy to nest for the season - with your chimney and fireplace appealing ever so slightly more than your neighbour’s old tree! 

What do Chimney Cowls Do? - Quick Summary

Here is a brief explanation of what a chimney cowl is used for: 

  • Keeps Birds Away. If you didn’t already read the above section that went into details about birds nesting in your chimney - it’s worth a read. Not only can they cause dangerous blockages that mean toxic gases, including carbon monoxide, can make their way down your chimney, but should the bird die you’ll be left with bad smells throughout your home.
  • Prevent downdraught. Whilst it may be difficult to figure out what exactly is causing downdraught in your chimney, an anti-downdraught cowl can quickly solve this troublesome chimney issue. For obvious reasons, ensuring an upwards flow of air out of your property will keep the smoke produced in your wood burning stove from lingering inside.
  • Help boost draw. From time to time some chimneys may suffer with a lack of draw. This creates difficulties when you decide to ignite your fire and often means the gases do not want to flow upwards through the chimney. There are specific chimney cowls that are made to correct this issue, such as our fantastic range of chimney fans.

 

Here at Brewer Cowls, we want to make choosing the right chimney cowl easy. Try our handy chimney cowl finder to help make buying a chimney cowl much easier.

Wood Stove Glass Cleaner

It is important that you keep your wood stove burner clean and have the chimney swept regularly.  But, what about the log burner glass door? When new, this little window provides the perfect viewing glass to your newly-lit fire, but the glass of your wood burner can easily become dirty and the more you use your burner, the harder cleaning off the engrained soot and smoke will become. 

Luckily these stove glass cleaning pads are the perfect solution to keeping your stove looking as good as new no matter how often you use it. With elastic steel wool fibres to gently clean the glass, you’ll no longer need to reach for harmful chemical products to scrub the glass clean.

Glass stove cleaner sponge

When it comes to choosing the correct cowl or terminal for the job, we here at Brewer Metalcraft cannot place enough emphasis on the importance of getting it right first time. There can be serious issues if this is not the case in terms of health, financial, and possibly even legal consequences.

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