Many people have a fireplace but do not have a masonry chimney. This style of fireplace is called a zero-clearance or a factory built fireplace. The chimney and fireplace are all per-fabricated and installed in place. This reduces the initial cost a lot.
The positives of these fireplaces are the easiness to install and the price. A negative is the heat output. Do not install a factory built fireplace and expect it to heat your home. These are normally only for looks.
As you can see in the picture above there is no masonry chimney. It is a factory built unit that is built in a wood wall. The term zero clearance does not really mean zero clearance, but usually you can install wood about 4 inches away, depending on the fireplace.
The chimney for a factory built fireplace is a double or triple wall chimney. Usually they are air insulated. These chimneys normally stay fairly clean but still should be cleaned and inspected every year. Many times the caps need to be replaced after a few years when the screen rusts out.
These chimneys are designed to be used only with the factory built fireplace. If you would like to install a wood or pellet stove using this chimney, you can but you need a stainless steel chimney liner. You can install the wood or pellet stove on a hearth pad and have stove pipe connecting the stove to the stainless steel chimney liner. This will provide much more heat than a factory built fireplace.
If you need help figuring out how to install a stove or have any other questions about a chimney liner, contact us at www.ChimneyLinerDepot.com