Why is Debris Constantly Falling from My Chimney?
During the spring and summer, many people notice debris falling down their chimney. Leaves, chunks of broken mortar, soot and other debris are familiar sights. What is landing in your fireplace can give you be a clue about what is happening in your chimney. It may be an indicator that your chimney needs repair, or it may be a sign that it’s overdue for a cleaning.
If you are wondering why you only notice these problems in the spring and summer, the reverse stack effect is the answer. Warm weather can reverse the airflow in your chimney. Instead of air from your home flowing up the chimney, air from outside flows down. This reversed airstream can bring debris with it.
There are three common reasons for chimney debris:
A Broken or Missing Chimney Liner
If you are noticing pieces of mortar or tile falling into your fireplace, then you may have a broken or missing chimney liner. Many homes have tile or concrete chimney liners. While these liners are built to last for decades, they can break due to water damage or wear-and-tear. Masonry chimneys without a flue liner are even more susceptible to deterioration due to water intrusion and corrosive creosote buildup along with wear-and-tear for high temperatures in the flue. The best solution is to schedule a chimney inspection to determine the health of your chimney.
Using your fireplace with a broken or missing chimney liner can be dangerous. It increases the risk that using your fireplace could cause carbon monoxide poisoning or spark a house fire.
Overdo Chimney Cleaning
If there is enough soot or creosote in the stack to fall into your fireplace, then your chimney is overdue for a cleaning. Your chimney should be cleaned out at least once a year if you use it during the winter. The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual cleanings because creosote, which builds up in the chimney along with soot, is extremely flammable. It can be ignited by a stray spark or even high temperatures in the flue. Having your chimney cleaned once a year is the best way to prevent a chimney fire.
Damaged or Absent Chimney Cap
Leaves, twigs, and nests that fall into your chimney are a sign that your chimney needs a chimney cap. A chimney cap sits over the opening of the stack. It has a slanted metal top that prevents leaves, twigs, and water from going down the chimney. Along the side, it has mesh that allows smoke to escape while capturing any stray sparks. The mesh along the side also stops critters, like birds and raccoons, from getting into the chimney. If lawn debris, animal nests, or little critters have been coming down the chimney, it’s a smart idea to invest in a chimney cap. This type of waste can clog up your chimney and become a severe fire hazard. A chimney cap will prevent this. Many chimney caps will last for at least a decade and can last for up to 25 years. If debris has been falling into your fireplace, give us Burlington Fireplace a call! You can set up an appointment with one of our trained and experienced chimney technicians to stop by your home and assess your chimney. Whether you need a chimney cleaning or a new chimney cap, we can help!0