Throughout the warmer months of the year, the chimney often sits unnoticed. As winter approaches, the time is right to consider problems that could occur in your chimney during the winter months. Masonry chimneys can suffer extensive damage during the winter months. Taking some steps to prepare and prevent damage will save money and time in the long run.

Masonry chimneys in particular are highly susceptible to certain types of damage due to their porous nature. Chimneys constructed using masonry materials include those made of brick, mortar, concrete, and stone. These materials porousness means they easily absorb any water they come into contact with. If water is absorbed and then the temperature drops below freezing, the water expands during freezing and contracts when it thaws. This causes the materials to also experience the shrinking and swelling movement, which over time degrades their strength.

Often, the first signs of a weakened chimney include missing or crumbling bricks and cracked mortar. If left unchecked, the structure could begin to lean or even fall. A chimney specialist can patch the mortar and apply specialized sealants to the chimney to prevent water from entering the structure.

Another common chimney problem also revolves around water damage. In snowy weather, sometimes the warmth radiating from the chimney can melt snow and ice on the roof, permitting water to leak into the chimney. If your chimney is equipped with a metal liner, the water can rust the lining, leading to cracks and holes.

When the liner is broken, it exposes your home to the heat of the fire, which increases the risk of a house fire. It can also allow toxic fumes to seep back into your home instead of being properly funneled out through the chimney. Carbon monoxide fumes can be just as deadly as a quick spreading house fire.

The key to avoiding these safety risks and preventing costly damages to your chimney is prevention. Taking the extra time each year to talk to your chimney technician about protecting your masonry chimney will save you from headaches and damage in the future.

Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a consultation. Our chimney experts at Lou Curley’s Chimney service are CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) Certified. You’re sure to get the best quality care when you call us for a consultation, chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, or chimney repair.