Stainless Steel Chimneys: Pros, Cons, Types, Safety & Moisture Issues

In this article, we’ll be looking at stainless steel chimneys.

Chimneys serve a lot of functions in homes and industries. In homes, these exhaust systems help to vent out or expel exhaust gases from living spaces.

Such gases are taken out to prevent human exposure to these dangerous gases. Now, there are different types of chimneys in terms of the materials they’re made of.

Some of these include steel chimneys, masonry chimneys, and more.

Here, you’ll learn about their level of stainless steel chimney safety, whether they’re ideal for renovation work and how they fare in terms of moisture, acid, and soot-fire resistance.

Types of Stainless Steel Chimneys

Stainless steel chimneys come in different designs or types. This mostly has to do with the layer of insulation included as well as positioning.

Positioning determines how efficiently combustion gases are vented out.

So, stainless steel chimneys can be installed externally, as well as internally.

There are also designs such as the single-walled, twin, or double-walled as well as the triple-walled stainless steel chimneys. So, how do these chimney designs measure up in terms of how they operate?

Let’s have a look at that.

  • Internal Chimneys

As the name implies, these stainless steel chimneys are positioned internally. It’s positioning alone means that temperature losses are significantly minimized.

For the most part, flue gases retain their temperature which greatly reduces deposits. Internal chimneys can be connected straight to heating appliances.

  • External Chimneys

Stainless steel chimneys can also be installed externally.

This adds to convenience as you won’t have to make significant modifications to your venting system. Plus, it’s easy to install. However, it has its downsides.

The most obvious here is the fact that these can be affected by the weather.

A temperature drop is likely with an external chimney.

This leads to draft issues as well as condensation of gases on chimney walls. Adequate insulation is paramount for external chimneys as such should be insulated enough to prevent malfunction due to weather.

  • Single-Walled Stainless Steel Chimney

Single-walled stainless steel chimneys are just that; having single insulation. These can be installed in connecting flue pipes.

  • Double-Walled Stainless Steel Chimney

Double-walled stainless steel chimneys translate to double insulation.

These have wider applications as they can be installed both internally and externally. Here, both the internal and external layers are made from the same material; stainless steel.

Such insulation helps keep the external part of the flue cold while flue gases are kept hot and get expelled easier.

  • Triple-Walled Stainless Steel Chimney

By now, you should have an idea about what triple-walled stainless steel chimneys translate to. These have triple insulation. Sometimes, the outer wall can be made from galvanized steel.

Other times, it’s made from stainless steel. Triple-walled stainless steel chimneys are most ideal for air-tight houses and are energy-saving.

Safety Levels

Safety is crucial to the installation and use of venting systems. The same applies to a stainless steel chimney.

These chimneys come with multiple safety features such as having excellent shock resistance and being resistant to soot fires.

  • Soot Fire Resistance

After an incidence, the likelihood of stainless steel chimneys developing faults is minute. In other words, these chimneys continue to function normally after an incidence such as a soot fire.

However, an inspection is required before putting it back to normal use.

  • Excellent Shock Resistance

Structural shocks are mostly common during seismic events. With stainless steel chimneys, these are largely contained. Here, cracks and breaks aren’t common with these systems.

Moisture Resistance

One of the enemies of chimneys (especially masonry chimneys) is the action of moisture on the structure.

With stainless steel chimneys, such a problem is contained.

Here, condensed moisture on chimney walls is unable to penetrate to surrounding materials, thus preserving your building.

Stainless Steel Chimneys and Acid Resistance

One of the benefits stainless steel chimneys are known for is their acid resistance.

As pollutants from fuel combustion mix with moisture, they react to form strong acids. Instead of corroding the material, stainless steel is generally non-reactive.

In other words, acids formed do not affect all stainless steel chimneys. This feature places stainless steel among the best materials for chimney construction.

Benefits of Having Stainless Steel Chimneys

When it comes to benefits derived from stainless steel chimney installation, there are several! First off, these venting systems are easier to service and repair.

A complete overhaul is also easier for a stainless steel chimney.

Do you particularly interested in the space left after installing a chimney system? You might want to go with a stainless steel chimney as these won’t take up much space.

What more? These are cost-effective to install and operate compared to other types of chimneys.

The designs stainless steel chimneys come in are aesthetically appealing.

As such, you can pick from any of the designs that fit your particular need(s).

Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Chimneys

There aren’t many disadvantages to stainless steel chimneys.

However, one that’s worthy of note is the likelihood of the surface finishing deteriorating with time. This is especially true when there’s a soot fire.

The finish tends to become darker or discolored, thus looking unsightly.

Stainless Steel Chimneys And The Environment

Stainless steel chimneys are environmentally friendly for several reasons; these structures can be salvaged at the end of the useful life of the building.

Salvaged materials can be repurposed for other uses.

When using condensing boilers, one common thing is the formation of aggressive condensates. The difference with these types of chimneys is that they’re non-reactive to acids formed.

Stainless steel chimney walls are mostly thin. This helps save materials.

Ideal for Remodeling

Structural remodeling happens often with certain modifications made.

A stainless steel chimney doesn’t get in the way. Also, their installations or replacement won’t require invasive intervention or actions.

When installing stainless steel liners, such can be lowered from the chimney top without the need for wall opening among other major structural adjustments.

Stainless steel chimneys serve a wide range of functions and tend to provide many benefits as discussed above. You’ll need to decide on what best serves your needs.

Speaking with a licensed chimney technician will go a long way in helping you determine what’s best.

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