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.