Many chimney sweeps will agree that chimney neglect is a common problem. Some homeowners still fail to get annual cleanings, and fail to respond quickly to signs of damage. Chimney safety is not the only issue here, as chimney defects can affect other parts of the home. A chimney may appear to be in good condition, but there may be a few problems that are not immediately noticeable. Maintaining your chimney helps to shield your budget against the cost of major repairs.
How Water Affects the Chimney
The exposure of this structure to the weather means that some amount of damage is inevitable, even with top-notch construction. Masonry absorbs water, and combined with the annual freeze/thaw cycle, there is a lot of pressure on the surface. As it weakens, more moisture will enter, leading to further damage. Even a chimney make from stone is not immune to this type of problem. Water can still seep into the masonry holding the stones, eventually weakening the structure. Water can enter through deteriorating flashing, causing damage to the attic, walls and ceilings. Other types of damage to the chimney and its components include:
- Worn flue liner
- Stains on the exterior of the chimney
- Water stains inside the home
- Rotting wood
- Rusting damper
- Damage to the hearth
- A blockage in the clean out area
- Sinking chimney
- Leaning of the chimney structure
Protecting the Chimney
This is easier than most people realize, and you can do it without spending too much. Ways to keep your chimney safe are:
- Invest in a chimney cap – this inexpensive covering will keep rainwater out of the chimney, safeguarding the internal components
- Repair flashing – the small amount you will spend to fix the flashing will prevent expensive repairs. Flashing covers the area where the chimney and roof meet, and it keeps water from entering the home. Even a small leak can lead to damage.
- Mortar repair – mortar deterioration should not be ignored. Water can get through these spaces, weakening the chimney and causing damage to the interior of the home. This usually involves digging out worn mortar, and filling the space with new mortar.
- Use waterproofing products – chimney waterproofing products offer protection for mortar against moisture intrusion. The right products allow the masonry to breath so that any water that gets in will not be trapped under the surface.
With regular checks and proper maintenance, your chimney will last longer and your home will be safer. You will not be forced to deal with stressful and unexpected expenses that come with major chimney damage.
The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA Certified and we have years of experience under our belts. We strive to continue our education as often as possible so we’re always in the position to offer you the best possible chimney services in Drexel Hill and all along the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to discuss your chimney needs or to schedule an appointment for a chimney cleaning, chimney inspection, or chimney repair.