Fuel burning appliances that you have which burns wood/fuel to heat your house need to be vented to the outside of your home. This can be done through a chimney liner, which is the material on the inside of your chimney’s flue that contains the combustion products from your burner until they are vented out the top of the chimney.
Flexible liners are made of continuous lengths of corrugated tubing which are installed inside the flue. Lining a chimney or fitting a wood burning stove or fire carries no stipulation that the work cannot be done as a DIY job but all work however does have to comply with the building regulations. If this work is not carried out by a competent person (E.G a HETAS installer) it must be inspected by someone from your local council’s Building Control Department. This is classed as “Building work” and you must notify your local council’s building control before work starts. In any case there may well be local planning restrictions converting chimney work and new chimneys that you have to follow. You may be required to erect scaffolding around the chimney down to the ground for health and safety. Reference should be made to ‘The Building Regulations 2000 Approved Document J Combustion Appliances and Fuel Storage Systems 2002 Edition’ or the building control department of your local council.
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An existing chimney or a new flue or chimney installation must be given a visual inspection to check that it is in good order, clear of obstructions and is of a suitable size and type for the appliance you plan to install. If you are handy with tools and have a good understanding of how fireplaces and chimneys work, you may be able to do most of the liner work yourself.
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The first thing you need to do is check your local building and fire safety codes. In some areas, you will be required to have a licensed chimney specialist make repairs or do new liner installations for you. If you find that it is permissible for you to do your own chimney work, be advised that replacing or installing a chimney liner requires precision work under potentially dangerous conditions. So, unless you are confident you know what you are doing, it might be best to let an expert do your chimney repair and lining installation work for you. If you are confused about the best type of liner to install in your chimney, your local chimney cleaning professional can give you advice during your annual chimney cleaning.
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Fitting a flexible chimney liner to an existing chimney is a two person job.
You will need the following tools and equipment to fit a flexible chimney liner to an existing chimney: A length of rope(10m), other ropes (for safety), cement, sand, integral water proofer, unibond, trowel, hammer and cold chisel, metal snips, buckets, old paintbrush, Phillips screwdriver, adjustable spanner and pliers, roof ladders, ladder or scaffolding structure.
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Before attempting to fit a chimney liner to an existing chimney, you must always sweep the chimney. Do not attempt to fit a liner without first sweeping the chimney. Remember that debris may very well fall down the chimney at any time during the installation of the flexible liner. A wood burning stove should be fitted at the same time, or soon after a flue liner has been installed.
Talk to your supplier about the type of wood/fuel burner you need and about the flue liner you need to serve it. The efficiency of the fire will depend on putting the right wood burner into the right opening and using the correct flue. If they do not all match up you could be wasting a great deal of energy.
Fitting a flue liner into an existing chimney can certainly be a DIY job but certain, very important rules have to be adhered to. The size of the flue used depends on the size of the flue outlet on the wood burner. The flue used must, under no circumstances, be smaller than the flue outlet of the fire or stove. For a wood burner or other solid fuel fire or stove producing up to 30KW a 150mm flue must be used. For an appliance (burning smokeless fuel only) producing up to 20KW, a 125mm flue can be used. The amount of soot deposit created by a wood burner is quite considerable and a 150mm flue is suggested in every case. If you open up an old fireplace and would like to place a wood burner in the opening you must first arrange for the chimney to be smoke treated to see if it is safe to use without a liner. If the flue needs a liner, check with your supplier as to the best liner to use under your circumstances. A flexible liner is the easiest to fit.