Chimney Issues: Water and Mold

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Mary_Poppins3We’ve seen quite a lot of rain this year in Philadelphia. In fact, most of 2014 was very wet, whether you’re talking snow, ice, or rain. Your chimney collected a good amount of water from each season this year. Waterproofing goes a long way in preventing the growth of mold, so if you’ve waterproofed your roof in the last year, mold growth is unlikely but not completely unheard of.

Have you noticed any tell-tale signs of mold? Are you aware of signs and indications of mold in the chimney? Let’s talk about some of the warning signs and what you should do if you have mold in your chimney, fireplace, or wood burning stove.

Risks of Mold Proliferation

Mold affects different people differently, but the most common physical reactions include flu-like symptoms, dizziness, breathing problems, memory loss, and weakened immune system. The severity of symptoms varies greatly depending on the person’s overall health and the severity of the mold growth.

How to Spot Mold

We’ve already noted that most of 2014 has been quite wet. Water is the key to mold growth, making it the enemy in this situation. Make note of the smells that emanate from your chimney. Mold produces a distinct musky odor that is recognizable to most people. If you have any unusual smells coming from your chimney, schedule an inspection and cleaning.

Other Damages Caused by Water

Water is one of the most damaging elements due to its destructive properties. Here are several ways water promotes damage to your chimney:

  • It promotes the growth of mold, as we just discussed.
  • It promotes rot in wood, which weakens the entire structure of your home.
  • It absorbs into masonry and may cause cracks, splits, or breaks.

Waterproof your chimney every year to prevent water damage. Some waterproofing agents may be applied once every two to three years, but make sure to keep an eye on the aging progress. As you see changes occur, make plans to reapply based on manufacturer’s instructions.

When to Call a Professional Chimney Sweep

Many homeowners want to fix things and perform home maintenance tasks on their own, and I completely respect that. There are, however, times that you will need to seek professional help. Mold and the possibility of structural damage are the first two that come to mind, because we’ve just discussed those. Creosote and other damage to your chimney or flue are other reasons to call on the assistance of a professional chimney sweep.

Call on a professional for anything that you aren’t familiar with or comfortable repairing on your own. Sometimes you just have to let it go and let someone with years of experience fix a problem. Home maintenance requires a lot of hard work and dedication to keeping your home in tip-top shape. Things happen, and unfortunately we cannot prevent everything that could possibly go wrong with every area of our home. The chimney is one of the places that you don’t want to trust to just anyone, and if you’re not knowledgeable working on certain things, you can create more problems than you fix.

Have you ever jumped into a chimney problem that you weren’t prepared to fix? What was the outcome? I’d love to hear your story! Leave a comment in the comments section or shoot me an e-mail any time.

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