A number of factors contribute to chimney deterioration over the years, and sometimes this is about more than the heat passing through them. Water that seeps into the structure is just the beginning of the problem. The start of the fall season is a bad time for a chimney with moisture trapped in the masonry. Winter is even worse, because when this starts to freeze, different sections of the structure will be compromised.
A chimney repair is not the typical masonry job. It requires a professional chimney technician who has familiarity with this type of structure. Getting the chimney checked regularly will help in spotting problems early. You will face an easier repair job and it will cost less.
Reasons for Chimney Damage
Your chimney has it rough from the outside and the inside. On the outside it is exposed to weather and temperature changes. Inside it deals with constant heat, soot and gases from the flue. So whether or not you are using the chimney, it is still susceptible to damage. Sealing the chimney to minimize moisture intrusion is an important first step, but you have to be careful about the products you choose. Sealing it should not prevent the mortar from breathing. This will trap the moisture in the bricks, making it easier for cracks to appear in the cold months.
Types of Chimney Repair
Fall is typically a busy season for chimney technicians. This is a good enough reason to deal with your repairs in the warmer months. Aside from cracks in the mortar, other repairs you might need to think about are:
- Cracked flue liner: this can cause dangerous flue gases to leak into the home.
- Damage to the firebox: this is the internal section of the chimney structure so even minor damage will be visible.
- Warped damper: changing weather conditions can cause the damper to become misshapen, so a replacement will be necessary
Chimney professionals do work in the fall, and even in winter when necessary, but you can make your life easier by scheduling an early inspection. You can get repairs out of the way quickly. Imagine relaxing in front of the fireplace in winter knowing that your chimney is ready to do its job.
Regular chimney inspections are critically important if you use your chimney at any time during the year. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends one chimney inspection and cleaning per year even if you don’t use the chimney. Things can still go wrong, bugs, birds, or small creatures can still build nests, and the weather can cause structural damage, even if you never use the chimney.
The CSIA recommends two cleanings and inspections per year if you use the chimney occasionally; three to four cleanings and inspections per year if you use the chimney on a regular basis. The goal is to keep it clean and safe in case you do need to use it. Give us a call here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 if you would like to schedule an appointment with our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps.