Stainless Chimney Liner vs Aluminum Chimney Liner

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A stainless steel chimney liner is the best way to keep your chimney clean and keep yourself healthy. In fact, nowadays, most code authorities require that you install a chimney liner. There are many types of chimney liners, but stainless steel chimney liners are the most popular because they are the most versatile. However, chimney liners are also made from terracotta and/or clay tiles and aluminum.

These days, cast-in chimney liners or liners made from heat-resistant concrete have also become popular. Essentially, chimney liners are used to ensure that that the flame, as well as the smoke, is directed away from the fire or heating source. This is important because it helps prevent the smoke from entering the house. Chimney liners also prevent a chimney from becoming overheated. An overheated chimney is at the risk of catching fire. In short, chimney liners make chimney maintenance an easier task.

Why Use Metal Chimney Liners?

Metal chimney liners score over clay tiles and terracotta because they prevent chimney breakage. Chimneys in older houses are often lined with clay tiles; however, over time, excessive heat, moisture, and corrosive gases can cause chipping and breaking, sometimes, even leading to chimney fires. Moreover, metal chimney liners are available in two different forms: flexible and rigid. This enables you to line your chimney based on your needs and convenience. Flexible chimney liners are suitable for smaller diameters and rough surfaces, albeit they are not as smooth as rigid ones. Opt for a rigid liner only if your chimney flue has a large diameter and is perfectly straight.

Stainless Steel vs Aluminum

Metal chimney liners are relatively new; they have been on the market for only the last 20 years. There is no doubt that stainless steel liners have become more popular than aluminum liners in the market.

Stainless steel chimney liners can be used in all types of installations and at any flue temperature; on the other hand, aluminum chimney liners can only be used in gas installations, at lower flue temperatures, and with less corrosive gases. Further, when dealing with wood stoves and wood-burning inserts, only a stainless steel chimney liner can be used. This is because stainless steel is the only metal that can prevent wood exhaust or liquid creosote from seeping into the mortar; any other metal, such as aluminum, would corrode. Liquid creosote is capable of dissolving the binder, which can lead to breakage and fire. Stainless steel liners are best used in conjunction with wood stoves and/or fireplace inserts.

However, stainless steel chimney liners are more expensive than aluminum ones. Moreover, these liners should preferably not be used on open wood fires, owing to their small inner dimensions. In fact, when it comes to open wood fires, terracotta and/or clay tiles score better.

Last Word

If you are looking for a chimney liner for any wood or oil-burning installation, you need to get a stainless steel chimney liner. In fact, building code will not permit the installation of any other type of chimney liner. If, however, you have a natural gas-fired installation, it is better to go with an aluminum chimney liner.