Nothing feels better on a cold winter day than curling up next to a roaring fire in the fireplace. It’s something the whole family can enjoy. But, if your chimney is not maintained properly, common problems like the ones we will explain below could make for a dangerous situation.
Below are some of the problems that can arise in your chimney overtime, and what you can do to address them.
It is not rare to have some type of blockage in the flue of your chimney. This is often caused by debris. Any blockage, large or small, can prevent your chimney from ventilating heat, smoke and gases out of your home, and should be removed.
However, you may also find that a Chimney Swift has made a nest and hatched baby birds in your flue, which is common in this region in the Fall. In this case, it’s important to leave them be– they’ll migrate South in just 2-3 weeks.
When you burn wood in your fireplace, the gasses that are released condense on their way out and form Creosote, a corrosive, combustible substance. Enough creosote buildup could potentially ignite and start a fire in your chimney. To remove it, you’ll need to purchase a product that will change the creosote from a glaze into ash that you can sweep out. The most convenient products are logs you burn in the fireplace just like any other, and some will work to remove the ash as well. However, this is no substitute for a professional cleaning and thorough inspection annually.
Cracks and Holes in the Flue
The byproducts of wood fires, like creosote, can be so corrosive that they damage the flue over time. Any openings that develop in your chimney can allow harmful gases to creep inside your home. So, have a professional inspect your flue and make needed repairs every year. If issues like these are left to erode further, a crack in the masonry work could lead to serious structural problems that will cost much more to repair or replace.
Note: Pacific West Roofing does not offer cleaning or internal chimney repair services (only external and roof-related chimney repair), but we are more than happy to refer our customers to other qualified professionals.
Chimney Crown and Cap Damage
The chimney crown and cap cover the flue to keep rain, debris, and animals from getting inside the chimney and down to your fireplace. If these become cracked or have missing pieces, things can get inside and create blockages and other problems, and lead to more extensive repairs. For example, in cold weather, water absorbed by the chimney’s porous brick and mortar can freeze and crack the mortar joints open. This allows the chimney to act like a sponge and bring water into the attic. Usually at this point the chimney has significant structural damage and may require rebuilding from the roofline up to the top. It can become dangerous and even fall from wind or any undue pressure against the chimney. All this can be avoided by pressure washing the chimney and sealing it every eight to ten years to prevent water intrusion.
If you notice any of these problems when inspecting your chimney, make sure to complete the repairs before you use it for a fire.
With regular inspections, you should get plenty of years of good use from your fireplace. By taking care of chimney repairs as soon as possible, you will find that the costs are much less than letting the problem grow. Chimney problems and improper maintenance can be life threatening, so it’s important to consult a professional about repairs.
Contact Pacific West Roofing about you chimney today! Get answers from the experts and a Free Chimney Repair Estimate.*
*Commercial and Residential properties on the Real Estate market are charged a $250 estimate fee. This fee will be credited to your invoice when work is complete.