Chimneys are made of very durable materials, so they should be fine year after year, right? Newer homeowners are under the mistaken impression that their chimney is a maintenance free feature of their home. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a completely maintenance free chimney because of the purpose they serve. Byproducts of fire have to have an escape route; otherwise the interior of your home would be as black as the inside of the chimney.
The chimney is usually made of some type of masonry, either rock, brick, or block. The mortar that holds everything together is very susceptible to water damage. Unfortunately for your chimney, it gets pelted several times per year with water, ice, and snow. Here are some major issues to keep an eye out for while you’re doing regular routine maintenance:
- Exterior Damage to the Structure of the Chimney
- Settled Chimney
- Rusted Chimney Cap
- Rotten Wood in the Attic or Around the Fireplace
- Water Stains on the Ceiling or Walls
- Cracks or Damage to the Flue
Solutions to These Common Chimney Problems
Avoid exterior and structural damage to the chimney by ensuring that it is waterproof. Sealants that are designed for masonry allow the chimney to breathe but do not let water enter to do more damage. A sealant may make the exterior of the chimney appear wet or look a little darker than normal.
Chimney repair is often a necessary part of homeownership. Regular maintenance goes a long way in preventing damage to the structure of the chimney. A yearly inspection by a certified chimney sweep will aid in detecting damage and repairing it early.
Chimney caps take a lot of abuse. A cap that shows signs of aging or rust should be removed and replaced immediately. Rust weakens the chimney cap, preventing it from successfully performing the function it is designed to do.
Rotten wood anywhere in the vicinity of the chimney should be given serious consideration. Check the roof and chimney to find out where the leak is coming from and repair it immediately to prevent structural damage to your home.
Water stains are the direct result of a leak somewhere in the roof or around the chimney. They appear as dirty circles on the ceiling or dirty streaks down walls. Leaks must be repaired immediately, and any affected wood removed and replaced if you cannot dry it completely.
Cracks and damage to the flue may be caused by a variety of things. A yearly inspection and cleaning will help in detecting damage before it becomes a serious problem.
Locate a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep
Don’t trust your chimney to just anyone. Call a certified chimney sweep at least once per year for a chimney inspection and cleaning. Yearly maintenance will go a long way in protecting your investment and keeping your household safe and warm during the cold winter months.