My Chimney Got Struck By Lightning
Every year the U.S. has around 100,000 thunderstorms and 25 million lightning strikes. Most of those storms take place in the summer. It isn’t unheard of for lightning to strike a chimney. If this happens to your home, it’s time to call a professional chimney sweep.
Chimney Damaged Caused by Lightning
Though chimneys are built to withstand severe weather and high temperatures, a lightning strike can still cause serious damage.
A lightning strike to your chimney can:
- Crack a chimney crown or chimney liner.
- Shatter pieces of brick and mortar or stonework.
- Ignite creosote and cause a chimney fire.
- Warp, buckle, or detach a metal chimney or flashing.
- Crack a tile liner or warp a metal chimney liner.
We recommend waiting to use your fireplace, after a lightning strike, until it has been inspected.
Damage caused by a lightning strike can leave your chimney structurally weak or prone to leak carbon monoxide into your home. Even small cracks in the masonry, crown, or flashing can turn into a grave problem in the future. If the cracks aren’t filled in soon enough, water may make its way into the chimney system. Water is the number one enemy of a chimney system. It can cause expensive water damage to the ceilings, walls, and flooring near the chimney. More importantly, water can deteriorate the structural integrity of the chimney.
What to do after your chimney is struck by lightning?
Step 1. Determine if it has ignited the chimney.
If you hear a loud whooshing noise or clicking sound coming from the chimney, your first instinct should be to look for smoke. These are both indicators of a chimney fire. If you see smoke or have other reasons to believe the chimney is on fire, call 9-1-1!
Creosote, the chemical byproduct produced by burning fuel like wood, is highly flammable. Creosote deposits in a chimney can burn for hours, causing severe damage to it and surrounding rooms. Chimney experts are not equipped to put out a chimney fire. The fire department is the best choice for that job.
After the fire has been quenched, a trusted chimney expert should inspect the chimney to assess the damage.
Step 2. Set up a Chimney Inspection
If your chimney isn’t on fire or the fire is out, set up an appointment with Burlington Fireplace and Solar or another trusted chimney service provider for a chimney inspection!
The purpose of a chimney inspection is to spot large or small problems that could become a potential safety hazard. A certified chimney sweep will carefully examine your chimney to make sure there are no accessible pathways for water, fire, or carbon monoxide to get into your home.
It is a good idea to schedule a chimney inspection soon after the lightning strike. Even minor chimney damage can turn into a major problem if it’s left unrepaired for too long. The chimney inspector won’t just record the damage they’ve discovered. They will also let you know the best options to resolve the problem. If you’d like to learn more about the chimney inspection process or Burlington’s team, give us a call!