Chimney’s must not only endure the ravages of winter, they have to deal with rainy periods as well. This exposure to the elements is the main reason why experts recommend strict chimney maintenance. The problem with moisture exposure is that it is easy to miss. High humidity and light rain can become problematic. Here are some of the signs you should look out for to protect not just the chimney, but the rest of the home.

  1. Excess creosote. Anyone who owns a chimney knows that creosote is the byproduct of burning wood. While it can always be expected, moisture inside the chimney can speed up these deposits. The combination of moisture condensation and heat from the fire fosters fast creosote buildup. This creates a dangerous situation because this substance is highly flammable.
  2. Foul chimney odors. When creosote in the chimney gets wet, this can produce bad smells inside the home. This usually happens during the months when the chimney is not being used. Whenever someone notices a bad smell inside the home, the chimney is usually the cause. A chimney cap can sometimes solve this problem, but moisture can seep in through faulty flashing as well.
  3. Rusting components. When you notice rusting on any of the metal components inside the chimney you should be concerned. Check the firebox and flue for signs of rust as this is a sure indicator of moisture intrusion. Rust can prevent the damper from closing properly, posing a health hazard when you light a fire.
  4. Dripping sounds. In cases of extreme chimney deterioration, water may start to drip into the fireplace. If this happens, or if you see wetness inside the firebox, call a technician for an assessment before attempting to use the chimney.
  5. Masonry deterioration. During the course of its lifetime, the chimney’s masonry takes a beating from the elements. The constant freeze/thaw cycles eventually weaken the surface and cause flaking. Eventually you may start to notice cracks. These will create spaces for water to enter the chimney, leading to further damage.

Chimney technicians routinely deal with moisture problems every year, keeping these structures safe for use. No homeowner who notices any of these signs should take them lightly. They not only decrease chimney efficiency, they can decrease the safety of the chimney. Remember that annual chimney inspections will reveal any signs of damage or moisture exposure.

Fireplace Safety and Chimney Inspections in Drexel Hill

We have two CSIA Certified chimney sweeps standing by to assist you with your chimney needs. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection or cleaning. We provide chimney services throughout the Main Line region.