Do I need to line my chimney? This is a very popular question and the technical answer is usually, no. However, we highly recommend that you do line your chimney for the following reasons:
Carbon Monoxide Kills
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is often referred to as the silent killer. A colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas, carbon monoxide is toxic to humans and can be fatal. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) warn that around 40 people die in England and Wales from carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can often be misread as the onset of a cold or flu and householders may not realise there is a problem in their home. By law, all stoves must be installed with a suitable CO alarm. However, a liner in the chimney further reduces the risk of a leak or problem developing.
Lined Chimneys are Safer
Traditional open fires are inefficient with a high smoke velocity. Unburnt particles and gases take the form of visible smoke and are pulled quickly into, up and out of the chimney. In the event of downdraught or a leak in the chimney, the smoke from an open fire should be quite visible and an obvious indicator of a problem.
Wood burning and multi-fuel stoves are far more efficient and often use a series of baffle plates to ensure that more of the fuel material and gases are burnt off inside the firebox. The flue gases exiting your word burning stove typically move more slowly, are less visible to the naked eye, and are more prone to stalling in the chimney or flue.
A smoke test of a sealed chimney should identify any leaks or problems, but that’s not to say one won’t develop in the future. In choosing to line your chimney you are creating a double fail safe; there would have to be a problem with both the liner and the chimney.
A Liner Can Improve Stove Performance
A stove will only achieve its quoted efficiency if all the manufacturers design conditions are met. Most of the 5kW stoves on the market are designed with a 6” (153mm) chimney system in mind. Many traditional chimneys are clay lined with an internal diameter of 7-10”. Older unlined chimneys may have an even greater cavity. This extra volume reduces the draw and non-smooth or irregular surfaces can slow down the escape of combustion gases. Steel is also an excellent conductor of heat so the liner will heat up faster than clay or masonry making the fire and a good draw easier to establish. A suitably sized and correctly installed steel liner will ensure your stove operates efficiently.
Liners Reduce the Risk of and Contain a Chimney Fire
Chimney fires are thankfully rare and can be easily avoided with regular sweeping and maintenance. A smooth chimney liner allows less opportunity for tar and creosote deposits to build up on the internal surface of the flu system. Should the worst happen, the fire is at least contained within the metal liners as opposed to being in direct contact with the fabric of the building.
The Additional Cost is Negligible
The alternative to lining the chimney is to install a gas tight register plate through which you introduce the stove pipe. A fully lined chimney need only be closed off with a ‘closure plate’, which can be formed from relatively inexpensive materials. The difference in cost between lining or not is usually no more than a few hundred pounds, which is often about 5-15% of the cost of the overall project.
The cost of the liner may be more significant if you are installing a cheap stove as part of a DIY project. This is not something we recommend as there are many rules and regulations that must be met to ensure a safe and competent installation. At Goval Stoves we advocate paying a little more for a high-quality stove and liner that is fitted by a competent stove installer. With regular maintenance, you can expect your stove and liner to last decades as opposed to a few years.
Goval Stoves would never seek to sell customers something they do not need. We pride ourselves on passing on our trade discount on stoves, liners and flue systems to our customers. If anything, lining a chimney is more work, stress and hassle for us, the installer. It usually involves us manhandling a long piece of metal, perched on a chimney (harness on of course) praying that it goes down without a fight. However, we sleep easier at night knowing that the jobs we undertake have been installed to be as safe as possible for our customers. Get in touch today for a no-obligation stove and liner installation quote.