Chimney maintenance isn’t an easy chore. It takes time and dedication to keep your chimney operating at its full potential. Preventative maintenance includes applying water repellent at least every few years, and inspecting and cleaning the chimney at least once every year. Today I want to address mold and the effects it can have on your family if left untreated.
Water is Your Chimney’s Enemy
Water is very damaging to your chimney in many ways. It erodes mortar, rusts chimney caps and dampers, causes masonry to spall, and is conducive to the growth of mold and mildew. Water is the primary enemy of your chimney because it can create structural integrity in a matter of a few short years. Mold grows in damp areas, and an unsealed chimney is the perfect spot for mold to grow.
Indications that Mold is Present
A musky odor is the first sign most homeowners notice if mold is present in the chimney. The fireplace doesn’t have to be active for the musky smell to proliferate the room. Pay very close attention to how your chimney smells during rainy periods so you can catch the subtle changes as they occur. Mold thrives in warm, humid areas.
Health Risks Involved
Mold causes a variety of symptoms that are often mistaken for symptoms of other ailments. Most people complain of dizziness, problems breathing, memory loss, compromised immune system, or flu-like symptoms. The severity of the signs and symptoms of mold exposure depend greatly on the amount of mold present and the extent of the person’s exposure to it.
Prevent the Growth of Mold in Your Chimney
The chimney isn’t just a nice looking maintenance-free part of your home. It requires regular maintenance and upkeep just like the rest of your home. The best defense against mold in the chimney is sealant on the outside of it. Sealant is designed to be breathable so water vapors can escape but water cannot penetrate it. Water that is already trapped within the chimney will evaporate over time but additional moisture will not be a problem.
The chimney crown is the second line of defense. The crown is designed at specific angles to provide a natural grade to drain water away from the opening of the flue. No water should be able to penetrate the chimney crown; if it does, the crown needs to be repaired or replaced.
A chimney cap is part of the chimney’s defense against water. A cap also protects against the infestation of small animals or birds seeking refuge within the safe confines of the chimney. A visual inspection during a rain storm will usually tell you if your chimney cap is doing its job properly. As long as water is flowing off of it and away from the chimney, it’s working as intended.
Chimney inspection, maintenance, and cleaning are also required for the health of your chimney. Make an appointment with Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at least once a year to ensure that your chimney is working as intended and that there are no surprises lurking where the untrained eye cannot see. You may reach us at 610-626-2439 if you’re in Drexel Hill or the surrounding areas.