Charcoal Chimney Basics:
The purpose of a chimney is to catch the smoke from burning wood or coal and carry it away from your home. A chimney is made up of two parts; the top part which catches the smoke and carries it outwards, while the bottom part filters out any solid matter such as ashes, soot, etc. The main thing to remember when choosing a fireplace chimney is that it must not block your view. If you have a window that looks into your house, then you want to make sure that there are no obstructions in front of it.
Types Of Charcoal Chutes:
There are several types of charcoal chute available today. Some of them include; the traditional ones like the weber chute, the gas grill chute, and even some electric grills with built-in charcoal chutes. These are all good choices if you don’t mind having a few extra steps involved.
A Weber chimney is one of the most popular type of charcoal chutes because it’s easy to install and maintain. They’re usually made from cast iron and come in various sizes depending on how much space you need. You’ll typically see these used in larger homes where space isn’t an issue.
Gas Grill Chute:
If you have a gas grill, then you might be able to use a dedicated gas grill chute. This is usually made of metal with an elbow shaped end that attaches to openings on the bottom of your grill. They’re very easy to use but remember that you need to keep it fairly clean because any build up can block the airflow. If you don’t clean it, then it can cause your gas grill to malfunction.
Some high-end gas grills have a built in chute that makes it very easy to transport the hot coals. They work by allowing the ashes, soot, and hot coals to drop right into a container that has a lid. The one drawback of these types of devices is that they cost significantly more than other types of chimneys.
Some electric grills come with a built-in chute at the bottom. This makes it very easy to get the hot coals into an ash cup or other container. The only problem is that these types of devices are usually fairly expensive and you may not need them if you have a small grill. If you get one of these, then make sure that it comes with an ash cup or other container because they don’t always include one.
A chimney is a very important part of your fireplace or furnace because it gets rid of the by-products (ashes, soot, etc.) that would otherwise clog up your system and prevent it from working properly. They’re available in several different types and sizes and you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
Most chimneys are made from steel or cast iron but some people have chimneys that are made from brick. The choice is up to you and what you prefer but if you have a brick chimney, then be aware that there are several things that can potentially go wrong.
As far as installation goes, it doesn’t take an expert to do it yourself. The only thing you really need is a good set of tools and about two to four hours of time. Make sure you choose the right size or else your chimney won’t work properly and you might have issues with it leaking smoke.
Take the time to find out all you need to know about chimneys before you start installing one. They’re very important safety devices and if you don’t do it right, you can be putting yourself and your home in danger. Always make sure you read the instructions carefully before installing your chimney.
Types Of Chimneys
An offset chimney extends off of the side of your house. It has one thick wall on the outside and one thin wall on the inside. The thin wall has a small hole in it that connects to a flue along the bottom of your roof. It then runs directly to the bottom of your furnace or fireplace.
This type is often preferred because it creates a negative pressure inside the home which prevents air from getting in. This keeps the air pressure from pushing smoke back inside the house.
Air Efficient Chimney:
Also known as a balanced flue chimney, this type has a small compartment built into the chimney walls. It’s designed to prevent a backdraft from occurring when the chimney is first lit. The compartment holds a small amount of air and when lit, the air creates a small amount of draft that prevents backpressure from building up.
As the name implies, this type of chimney is very conventional. It’s basically just a straight pipe that extends from the top of your house all the way to the bottom. They can sometimes be used in addition to another type, usually an air-efficient chimney.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Chimneys
They keep homes a lot warmer because they prevent cold air from leaking in.
They prevent homes from filling up with poisonous carbon monoxide (CO).
The combustion process happens entirely outside which helps to prevent houses from burning down.
All of these things help to make them very efficient heating devices.
They can be a fire hazard if they aren’t installed or maintained properly.
The by-products (smoke and soot) can stain ceilings, walls, furniture and just about anything else in the house.
The combustion process can cause the chimney to get hot, which is a potential fire hazard.
Many older chimneys aren’t insulated which can be a big problem in colder climates.
Exhaust fumes can leak into the house which can be very dangerous.
Another big problem is when the flue gets clogged up because it causes a backdraft. A backdraft can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to fill up the house and kill anyone inside.
One method of preventing these problems from happening is to have the chimney inspected by a professional on a regular basis.
Older homes usually have chimneys made out of stone, brick or concrete and are very sturdy. Newer models are often made out of metal, which can rust and cause the entire chimney to disintegrate. This is why it’s especially important for people who have newer homes to have their chimneys inspected at least once a year.
The most common type of fireplace used in homes is the traditional one that is usually placed against an outside wall. They come in all different shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials.
Some fireplaces are very basic and only contain a gap for the fire to go into and a brick facade to make it look pretty. These are often called a louver style fireplace. The fire is surrounded by thin metal bars to give it the appearance of being enclosed.
Other fireplaces are very ornate and contain various different props, such as; mirrors, glass doors, crucifixes and even furniture. These are usually made out of stone or concrete to make them look as realistic as possible.
It’s important to know where your chimney feeds into so you’ll know which way to run when the house starts burning down around you!
The smoke has to go somewhere, right?
It’s really dark inside your chimney. You can’t see anything at all. You can’t even see your hand in front of your face!
There’s only one thing to do and that is to feel around the inside of the chimney to see if you can identify anything.
Groping around the inside, you don’t really feel anything except the sides of the chimney. This is going to be harder than you thought!
Suddenly, something sharp cuts your finger. You scream out in pain and shock. That really hurt! Your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness and you can see a little better what’s around you.
Looks like you’re not going to be able to continue. Your finger is really bleeding bad and you need to figure out a way to stop the bleeding, fast!
Climbing back down is definitely not an option, so you aren’t left with many choices. Yikes! This could get ugly.
You take off your shirt and wrap it around your finger to apply pressure. It’ll have to do for now. You figure you’ll worry about disinfecting it later.
What else is there to do but continue exploring?
You’ve come this far, there’s no way you’re going to give up now!
You continue groping around inside the dark chimney but you still don’t feel anything other than the sides. You wonder how far down the bottom of the chimney is. You don’t remember seeing a light from outside so you must be pretty far up from where the smoke escapes.
A big cloud of soot blows into your face as you hear the sound of crackling below you. You can feel the heat getting stronger and stronger as you get closer to the bottom.
That’s strange, it almost sounds like there is someone talking down there. You can’t make out what they are saying though. You have to get out of here before you end up as crispy critter!
You keep going down and the talking sound gets louder and louder. Now you can make out some of the words, but they still aren’t making any sense. It almost sounds like German or something. You never were very good at foreign languages, especially German.
It was always pretty hard for you.
Not that it really matters right now! You just want out of this stupid chimney!
As you descend further down, you can see a little better what your surroundings are. It looks like there is a little cave at the bottom of the chimney. The sides are covered with soot, probably from years of people climbing up and down the chimney. There is also ash and other dirt that has settled over the years.
In the middle of all this is a small little man, who appears to be talking to himself. He is dressed in lederhosen with short brown pants and a red jacket. On his head is a flat hat and long white hair goes down to his shoulders.
He doesn’t notice you at first, since you are standing far above him. You don’t know if you should announce your presence or not. This little man looks kind of crazy and who knows what he might do if he realizes that you are here. Maybe you should try to sneak away before he notices you…
\ You try to back out of the opening without him noticing.
You can’t do anything until this man leaves. Maybe if you are really quiet, he won’t see you and you can slip away.
\ You stay put and try to be as quiet as possible.
\ You call out to him, “Excuse me, sir.
Do you happen to have the time?”
The man turns around and sees you standing above him. He didn’t expect anyone else to be in this chimney. He looks up and seems a little startled that someone so big would fit into such a small chimney.
Vhat are you doing down dere?”
he asks with a German accent.
“I was just exploring and looking for treasure,” you explain. “I got lost and ended up here…”
The man looks at his surroundings and then looks back at you. He doesn’t look as frightened as he did before. Maybe he isn’t so crazy after all, just a normal person who happens to speak German.
You’re not von of those crazy treasure hunters are you?”
Sources & references used in this article:
Charcoal starter by DD Gunter – US Patent 3,453,975, 1969 – Google Patents
Charcoal chimney by DK Swatling, TM Ei-sayed, A Veitch… – US Patent App. 14 …, 2015 – Google Patents
Fire and smoke: hearths, braziers and chimneys in the Greek house by B Tsakirgis – British School at Athens Studies, 2007 – JSTOR
Comparative study on charcoal yield produced by traditional and improved Kilns: A case study of Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe Districts in Southern Province of … by A Nahayo, I Ekise, A Mukarugwiza – Energy and Environment Research, 2013 – Citeseer
Portable charcoal lighter by C David – US Patent 3,177,826, 1965 – Google Patents
Charcoal ignition device by JP Whitmire, RT Harrison, RE McCracken… – US Patent App. 13 …, 2012 – Google Patents
Charcoal lighting device by CSE Schaefer – US Patent App. 13/527,789, 2013 – Google Patents