When the summer heat and thunderstorms come through the Main Line, the last thing you’re thinking about is how it’s damaging your chimney. Too often, homeowners get very comfortable during the summer and neglect to work within several upgrades, improvements, and chimney maintenance issues that need to be done. The summertime thunderstorms we see here in along the Main Line tend to come and go in spurts unless the east coast is being hammered by a hurricane. It’s generally more difficult to see evidence of damage and trace it to the source when the rain isn’t necessarily consistent.
While there are many components to your home that require regular maintenance, we’re going to focus on some of the most overlooked areas. For instance, the fireplace and chimney can easily be neglected through the summer, and that’s dangerous. It’s not only a fire hazard, but there could be issues looming in regards to letting water in.
Waterproofing From The Outside
The first thing that you need to concern yourself with is the flashing. The chimney comes out of the roof and needs to have good flashing in place. The flashing may become damaged by winter’s brutal freeze thaw cycle or any variety of other reasons. Damage begins when that first water drop travels the damaged area of the flashing, and continues until the chimney becomes a serious issue.
The mortar has to be done well and any chips or breaks have to be addressed immediately. A chip or break in a brick allows water droplets to seep into your chimney and subsequently under the roof and into the home. You may not even see any issues at first. You may not hear any drips either. However, small drops could build up to water damage. The most problematic of course being mold. Mold doesn’t come up overnight; it builds and causes serious health problems.
The Lining of Your Chimney
Alongside the outer layers that need waterproofing, the interior of your chimney needs to be well lined, protected, and properly maintained. You don’t need to have this done every month or every week. This isn’t like a swimming pool that needs cleaning often. Instead, you should schedule maintenance for every six months or so depending on how often you use the fireplace.
Get an inspection and test the cap, crown, and flashing against water. You want to make sure that any water that may seep in is not going to get into the walls or leak through the lining. When the opening is well protected , however, you are not going to have to worry about this.
Fix Issues Now Before They Get Worse
You can do some minor things to make sure that your roofing is doing well. However, there’s only so much you can do on your own. There are some warning signs that you are going to want to be aware of. This includes broken shingles, torn flashing, or bricks with breaks, chips or shifts. There’s so many subtle signs that homeowners can overlook that it becomes very important to call a professional chimney sweep, like the ones here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service to inspect and repair before things get worse. Fix things today, and don’t worry about your fireplace when the weather turns from sunny and warm to cold and wet.
One last quick note before closing – Father’s Day 2015 is June 21 which is just around the corner. Give dad something very different this year; schedule a chimney inspection or cleaning so he doesn’t have to remember to do it later.