The Importance of Maintaining Masonry Chimneys
Does your home have a brick, block, or stone chimney? If it does, you may not realize the maintenance it requires. Many homeowners neglect their chimneys because masonry seems so resilient. Unfortunately, masonry chimneys are vulnerable to serious damage from moisture, storms, and regular wear ‘n tear. There are three crucial chimney maintenance tasks that should be on every fireplace owners’ to-do list.
Water can easily seep into bricks, blocks, and mortar since they are porous. When that moisture expands (freezes) and contracts (thaws) during the winter, it weakens the masonry. The freeze/thaw cycle is tough on bricks, blocks, and mortar. Over time, it can cause cracks, chips, and breaks that can weaken the structure of the entire chimney. You can prevent structural damage by hiring a certified chimney technician to treat the masonry with a professional-grade waterproofing sealant.
#2. Health Checkup After Storms
After a severe storm or high winds, be sure to check your chimney for signs of damage! A missing chimney cap (or chaise cover) and broken flashing are two of the most common types of damage after a storm. If you notice these issues or others, schedule a chimney inspection right away!
Storms often leave behind damage that can cause a chimney leak. However, you can prevent hundreds of dollars in water damage to nearby walls, floors, and ceilings by visually inspecting your chimney after high winds or severe weather.
#3. Annual Chimney Cleaning
An annual chimney cleaning and inspection by a certified professional is the most important maintenance task. The purpose is to ensure that your fireplace and chimney are safe to use and in good shape.
Lighting up a fireplace that hasn’t been cleaned or inspected within the last year is risky. For example, it could be full of creosote (a highly flammable combustion byproduct that builds up along chimney walls). As a result, igniting your fireplace could spark a chimney fire. Or it could be clogged by leaves, twigs, or animal nests which may prevent smoke from escaping and result in carbon monoxide poisoning. You can avoid these severe risks by scheduling a chimney sweep between burning seasons.
Chimney obstructions aren’t the only reason for an annual chimney cleaning and inspection. Many chimney problems are hard to spot without a trained eye or professional equipment. Early detection of an issue now by an experienced chimney technician can prevent a future headache from occurring.
A well-maintained masonry chimney can last a lifetime! By caring for your chimney, you can prevent expensive chimney water damage and the risk of a deadly house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. So be sure to add these three essential chimney tasks to your to-do list: masonry waterproofing (as needed), visual chimney checkup after storms, and professional chimney cleaning and inspection once a year.
Call Burlington Fireplace
If you are looking for chimney services in Southeast Wisconsin, call on Burlington Fireplace! Our crew of NFI Certified Chimney Technicians provides chimney inspections, cleanings, and repairs for residents in Milwaukee, Kenosha WI, Lake Geneva WI, and the surrounding areas.