Chimneys and Fireplaces

Minimum requirements for chimneys may be obtained from local building codes or any model building code. In brief, chimneys should extend at least 3 ft above the highest point where they pass through the roof of a building and at least 2 ft higher than any ridge within 10 ft. (For chimneys for industrial-type appliances with discharge temperatures between 1400 and 2000F, minimum height above the roof opening or any part of the building within 25 ft should be 10 ft. For discharge  temperatures over 2000F, minimum height above any part of the building should be 20 ft.) Masonry chimneys should be constructed of solid masonry units or reinforced concrete and lined with firebrick or fire-clay tile. In dwellings, thickness

of chimney walls may be 4 in. In other buildings, the thickness of chimneys for heating appliances should be at least 8 in for most masonry. Rubble stone thickness should be a minimum of 12 in. Cleanout openings equipped with steel doors should be provided at the base of every chimney.
When a chimney incorporates two or more flues, they should be separated by masonry at least 4 in thick.
In seismic zones where damage may occur, chimneys should be of reinforced masonry construction. They should be anchored to floors and ceilings more than 6 ft above grade and to roofs.
Fireplaces should have backs and sides of solid masonry or reinforced concrete, not less than 8 in thick. A lining of firebrick at least 2 in thick or other approved material should be provided unless the thickness is 12 in.
Fireplaces should have hearths of brick, stone, tile, or other noncombustible material supported on a fireproof slab or on brick trimmer arches. Such hearths should extend at least 20 in outside the chimney breast and not less than 12 in beyond each side of the fireplace opening along the chimney breast. Combined thickness of hearth and supporting construction should not be less than 6 in. Spaces  between chimney and joists, beams, or girders and any combustible materials should be fire-stopped by filling with noncombustible material.
The throat of the fireplace should be not less than 4 in and preferably 8 in above the top of the fireplace opening. A metal damper (12 ga or thicker) extending the full width of the fireplace opening should be placed in the throat. The flue should have an effective area equal to one-twelfth to one-tenth the area of the fireplace opening.

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