Chimney Anatomy - centralindianachimn

Chimney Anatomy

Chimney Anatomy: While there are differences among various types of fireplaces, there are several common parts. An understanding of the basic terminology will help make your fireplace both safer and more enjoyable.

Rain Cap

Water is a chimneys worst enemy. Chimney caps keep out rain and snow. They also keep out animals, leaves and other debris. Custom caps are available in an array of sizes to suite just about every chimney and come in stainless steel and copper.


A damper (located either at the top or bottom of the flue) enables you to regulate the draft and can be completely closed when the fireplace is not in use.


The chimney crown is a concrete piece a the top of the chimney that seals off the air space between the outer walls of the masonry chimney and the flue liner. The cement crown slopes away from the liner to deflect water.


Fireplace and appliance exhaust gasses are vented up through the flue to the outside.


The purpose of a flue liner is to contain the heat of a chimney fire and prevent it from reaching the building itself.


Vertical structure incorporated into a building that encloses the flue that carries smoke or appliance exhaust gasses safely out of the house.

Smoke Shelf

The smoke shelf, located behind the damper (if the damper is located below the flue), stops back drafts of outside air that could otherwise push smoke into the living area.


The Mantel is typically, a decorative shelf above a fireplace. I may also be a beam, stone, or arch that serves to support the masonry above the fireplace.


The lintel is the horizontal architectural member spanning the opening and providing support for the brickwork above the fireplace opening.


In a traditional fireplace, the fire burns in a firebox lined with noncombustible firebrick. The firebox is the chamber of a fireplace where the fire actually burns. Fireboxes are built using Firebrick, a special brick designed to withstand high temperatures.

Ash Dump Door

A metal door located in the inner hearth of some fireplaces, which leads to an ash pit.

Ash Pit

The ash pit is a cavity underneath a fireplace firebox used as a receptacle for ashes and accessible for clean out by means of a clean out door.


This is where you build the fire.

Inner Hearth

The inner hearth is the floor of the fireplace, inside the opening.

Outer Hearth

This is the technical term for what is usually called the hearth. It is the part of the hearth that extends out into the room beyond the fireplace opening.

Smoke Chamber

The smoke chamber is the space above the throat of the fireplace leading up to the flue.

Throat Damper

A damper located in the throat of the fireplace just above the firebox. This is the kind found in most fireplaces. It is operated by means of either a handle inside the firebox (or a knob above the fireplace opening) that is connected to a rotting metal shaft, which is attached to the damper.

Top-sealing Damper

Damper mounted at the top of the flue.

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