Most homeowners strive to take great care of their possessions. A home is a major investment after all; it deserves to be taken care of and properly maintained. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize that their chimney needs more attention than they give it. The seasons wreak havoc on your chimney, requiring specialized attention a few times a year.
Summer is the best time to hire a chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney. Summer is the most forgiving season for your chimney because the biggest concerns include small animals seeking shelter, and rain. A chimney cap goes a long way in protecting your chimney and home from small animals and birds. It also helps drain water away from the chimney opening to prevent rust or water damage inside your flue.
All of the pretty colors of autumn often end up on your roof, in your guttering, and yes, maybe even in your chimney. Dry leaves create a serious fire hazard and must be removed before you build your first fire as the temperatures cool. A visual inspection is recommended each fall to make sure small animals haven’t sought refuge or built homes in the chimney.
Snow and ice melt into water which refreezes in the tiny cracks of your masonry chimney. This process of thawing and refreezing eventually wears a masonry chimney down. Older masonry chimneys often need to be replaced as they become unstable.
April showers bring May flowers… and cause water damage to your chimney from cap to flashing. Winter’s thaw-and-refreeze cycle creates tiny crevasses for water to drain into. Spring keeps the damage going strong by pushing even more water onto your chimney. Water promotes the formation of rust on the metal parts of your chimney, and penetrates into every type of masonry chimney.
Protect Your Chimney from Water
You probably caught onto the primary factor that causes serious damage during each season – water. Protect your chimney from water damage by having it inspected and maintained each year by a certified chimney sweep. Here is a list of damages caused by water and the other elemental changes each season brings.
- Rusted damper assemblies
- Clogged cleanout area
- Stained chimney exterior
- Decaying exterior mortar
- Cracked flue lining
- Collapsed hearth supports
- Settlement of the chimney
- Rusted accessories and fireplace grates or doors
- Water stains anywhere in the fireplace
- Deteriorated or rusted firebox assemblies
- Unsavory smells coming from the chimney
Protect your chimney with a chimney cap, often referred to as a rain cover, to keep rain from falling directly into the flue. A cap or cover will also keep small animals and birds from seeking shelter or building nests in your chimney.
A chimney crown, or chimney wash, covers the top of the chimney itself; the entire top of the structure, not just the opening. A flat chimney crown allows water to pool and creates the perfect spot for the formation of rust. Discuss crown options with a trusted chimney sweep.
Don’t forget to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning each summer while the fireplace is not active. That way you’ll be ready for cooler weather to settle in after a scorching hot Philadelphia summer.