Q: We just had our chimney cleaned and the gentleman is advising us to have our chimney lined, for which he gave us an estimate of $2,800. How in the world does one know when a chimney needs a liner? Our house is 40 years old. Is that an indicator that it does?
He took a flashlight and showed me a pile of whitish material in the back of the furnace pipe that was about 2½ inches high. What do you think?
A: From what I understand, age of the house may only be one factor in determining whether your chimney needs a liner.
The experts recommend regular cleaning of chimneys for a good reason.
When you delay maintenance, creosote from wood-burning eventually builds up enough to create a fire hazard. The same thing happens when residue from whatever you heat your house with — probably heating oil — builds up as well.
Most chimney contractors recommend a stainless-steel liner that slips in from the top of the chimney all the way down. They are recommended for chimneys that are used to vent wood-burning stoves because creosote can quickly mess up other metals.
First, you need more than just one estimate, and here’s hoping that you find someone who will offer you a more complete and accurate explanation of your problem, and all the available alternatives — information readily accessible online.
The liner that is used will have to properly fit the inside of the chimney.
Now, to the cost. Mark Wade, a Philadelphia real estate agent who deals with a lot of people who buy places with fireplaces in need of working chimneys, and who has done some renovation projects himself, said he’s never heard less than $4,000.
Again, you need a complete and written explanation of the problem and more than one estimate before you consider having the work done.