What is a Chimney Pipe?

Phil Shepley

A chimney pipe, or flue pipe, is a tube or cylinder that is made to vent stoves and appliances that are fueled by wood, coal, oil, and sometimes gas. Some of the appliances that use chimney pipes include wood stoves, freestanding fireplaces, water heaters and boilers. Some kinds of appliances will need one specific type of chimney pipe, while others can use a variety of different kinds for the same purpose.

Wood stoves use chimney pipes to vent smoke.
Wood stoves use chimney pipes to vent smoke.

The basic unit of a chimney pipe, sold as Class A or all-fuel pipe, is one cylindrical tube. These tubes are made of metal and are designed to be compatible with many different types and brands of appliances. The pipe can be made from a wide variety of metals which each can insulate the pipe in different amounts. Other parts may be necessary to hook it together depending on how long the pipe has to be, and whether the pipe needs to twist, turn, or be built around existing structures.

Proper chimney and flue construction are crucial to maintaining the safety of wood-burning fireplaces in homes.
Proper chimney and flue construction are crucial to maintaining the safety of wood-burning fireplaces in homes.

A masonry chimney may be considered to be a chimney pipe, since its purpose is to vent a house from a fireplace. A more accurate description of a chimney pipe, however, is a chimney liner, which is a metal tube that is used to line the brick-and-mortar chimney when the construction of the chimney has become unsafe due to time, or from normal wear and tear. In cases where the original chimney is usable, it is still advised to use a liner because it more efficient, better at maintaining proper temperatures, and easier to clean.

In the cases of gas appliances, there must be a “Type B” pipe. These are designed to use external air for the combustion of the appliance while simultaneously expelling the exhaust directly outside. This is especially important because gas can be extremely dangerous if a venting system with a chimney pipe is improperly connected and leaking.

A person installing a chimney pipe into a home can often purchase a chimney pipe kit, which will contain the flue pipe as well as all of the connectors needed to properly install an exhaust system and fasten it to walls. Sometimes a few tools will be provided with the kit, but most of the time the installer will need to have necessary tools on hand, including a saw, gloves, a tape measure, a drill, caulk, screwdrivers and more. It is important to both follow the directions in installation and make sure that no local code violations are being broken by the addition.

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