What Happens if You Don’t Have a Chimney Liner?

You might be wondering what happens if you do not have a chimney liner. A chimney liner might not seem like an important part of your chimney, but in reality, it’s extremely important and improves the safety of your fireplace and home. Additionally, a chimney liner is required to be present to pass inspection for property transfer. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about chimney liners and their benefits so you can decide what’s best for your home.

What happens if you don’t have a chimney liner? Without a chimney liner, your chimney will be in danger of overheating which can cause your chimney to combust. You don’t want to play with fire and if you don’t have a liner then you’re in danger of burning down your house. Chimney liners form a barrier between the fire and the chimney and its surrounding elements.

If you have a chimney that burns a gas, oil, or even solid fuels, you will want to look into a chimney liner to help protect your home from possible fires or other hazards brought on by unlined chimneys. At first glance, it may seem like an unnecessary addition, but in reality, a chimney liner can save you lots and lots of money or even your home from a possible fire.

Why is Chimney Liners Important?

Chimney liners do the brunt of the work of the chimney. They’re able to endure the heat from your fireplace, along with the occasional burning ember. They also contain the smoke and gases from your fireplace, preventing them from leaking into the rest of your home. Chimney liners also protect the chimney structure from the corrosive properties of gas and soot. Chimney liners are so sturdy that they can contain low-grade chimney fires, potentially saving your home. Chimney liners are so important that building chimneys without liners has been referred to as criminal.

Why Does My Chimney Need a Liner?

Whether you use your fireplace for wood-burning fires or gas, your chimney needs to be able to take the heat no matter the weather. Now stone or brick chimneys can be made safe to protect your home with a flue lining that helps to move heat and gases up and out. Chimney liners are a protective barrier usually made of metal or ceramic. You can also check out this article that discusses if unlined chimneys are safe. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Chimney Liners Guide Smoke Out of Your Chimney

When you don’t have a liner installed inside your chimney then you’re at risk of combustion byproducts sneaking back inside your home. Chimney liners and chimneys go together like peanut butter and jelly. Without one, you’ll have carbon monoxide and other dangerous combustible chemicals running down your chimney into your living room. You’ll also notice a difference between old and damaged chimney liners. Your chimney liners can be damaged by undergoing creosote and moisture buildup. Creosote and water can gradually tear the liner. As a result, you’ll experience poor chimney airflow.

Protection from Corrosion

If there is no chimney liner, acidic materials in flue gases are allowed to penetrate brick and mortar. Mortar joints quickly erode, which exposes exterior masonry to moisture. The eventual result is a chimney that begins to lean and might collapse if repairs aren’t made.

Chimney Liner Improves Energy Efficiency

Think about energy efficiency next time you have questions about buying a chimney liner. Chimney liners have one job and that’s to maintain a steady airflow and burn wood and fuel more efficiently. With a good chimney liner, you’ll have the luxury of using less fuel because the fire will burn brighter, and you won’t need that much wood to keep your home warm.

Liners Protect Your Chimney

The by-products of combustion, also known as flue gases, are proven to be corrosive and can significantly damage the brickwork of your chimney, greatly reducing its lifespan over time. The gases produced in your flue are naturally acidic and will erode the brick and mortar. Mortar wearing down can allow toxic gases like carbon monoxide to leak into your living space.

Chimney Liners Reduce Soot and Creosote

As mentioned previously, your chimney works like it’s supposed to when you have a good chimney liner. Everything flows out of your chimney without any extra pressure on the barrier. Soot and creosote are highly flammable, and they are difficult to clean. The only way to clean soot and creosote is to hire professionals who have the tools and training to get it done. Otherwise, the best solution is to get a high-quality flue liner.

✅ Video – Can You Burn Creosote Out of Chimney?

Chimney Safety Institute of America shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses if you can burn creosote out of chimneys. This is a common question asked by homeowners. Find out the answer by watching the video below.

What to Do if You Do Not Have a Chimney Liner?

If your home is older and you’ve determined that your home only has the stone or brick of the outer chimney, you need to decide whether a liner is necessary. First, check your city’s fire code. This may mandate that you install a liner if you’re making any changes to or installing a wood-burning stove or fireplace. If you burn wood in your fireplace or a wood-burning stove, it’s recommended that you have a stainless-steel liner to prevent overheating your chimney and risking a fire.

In some locations, your city’s fire code may mandate that you install such a liner if you’re making any changes to or installing a wood-burning stove or fireplace. However, if you’re not using your fireplace and your chimney acts solely as a vent for your furnace or water heater, you may not need to have a liner installed. Cracked masonry should be addressed from an energy-savings perspective a lot of air could be escaping from your home, depending on where the damage to the chimney is located but it’s not likely to be a fire hazard. Homeowners with gas or electric inserts most likely do not need a new liner because those types of fuel don’t produce enough heat to damage a masonry chimney.

Do I Need to Replace My Chimney Liner?

You would need a new liner to help keep your chimney operating safely and efficiently. Chimney problems are notorious for following the domino effect, where one domino falls causing the rest to fall as well. For example, with your liner, if it is damaged or sized incorrectly, you’ll have problems with the draft and flow. If you have problems with the draft and flow, the chimney smoke and gases can’t escape fast enough. The moisture in the smoke and gases encourage excessive creosote to stick to the walls of your liner, further restricting the draft and flow, eventually corroding the liner, and potentially causing a chimney fire.

Inaccurate Liner Sizing

Probably the most common reason for needing a new liner is that the one you have isn’t properly fit for the fireplace or stove you have. There are a lot of folks out there that are the DIY-type and install the chimney liner themselves. The problem with this is they buy a liner that doesn’t fit the stove or fireplace properly. This is one of the reasons that we have to always recommend you, trust professionals, to deal with your chimney.

Cracks & Other Hazards

A lot of older homes were built without chimney liners. Even today, we see a lot of newer houses being built, where the builder doesn’t know the code for chimneys and doesn’t install liners. As mentioned before, this is very dangerous since it’s been shown that fire in chimneys without liners can cause the rest of your house to catch fire in about 3.5 hours.

No Liner at All

Just like with most things, pricing will vary depending on who you ask and where you are. At Patriot Chimney, we charge 190 dollars for Level 2 inspections. However, if we discover anything that requires repair, and you accept the proposal, then we refund the full price of the inspections.

It’s Been More than 20 Years

Chimney liners go through it all. They are there every time you need them as you light your fire. But even if you maintain your liner properly, get it inspected annually, and swept every year, you should still only expect it to last 15-20 years. Of course, the time frame depends on your maintenance frequency and the type of liner that you have. But a good rule of thumb is having it replaced every 15-20 years. The only way to know if you can have it longer or if you need a replacement sooner is with regular inspections.

Are Chimney Liners Safe?

Chimney liners are safe if they are installed and used correctly. If you are intending to use an open fire, wood-burning stove, or gas fire in your home it is important to follow the safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.  For example, chimney liners still need to be swept regularly. Also, if you are burning wood it should be well seasoned and contain no minimal amounts of moisture.  Never burn any kind of pre-treated timber that may leave a chemical residue on the inside of your liner. Additionally, to ensure the best results for your chimney always engage the services of a qualified chimney professional for advice on the right type of liner and correct installation.

Why Do Chimneys Need to Be Lined?
If you are installing a chimney in a new build property and you intend to use it for an open fire, woodburning stove, or gas fire, then the chimney does need to be lined to comply with document J of current building regulations. In an older property, your chimney doesn’t have to be lined to meet building regulations. An inspection by a chimney professional will tell you if you need to have it lined for safety purposes.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses what happens in you do not have a chimney liner A chimney liner is generally out of sight and out of mind to most homeowners. Ensuring the safety of the chimney and the heating appliance should be the number one priority in any home. Thank you for reading!

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