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Potential Chimney Problems Caused by Bad Weather

Wisconsin is known for its extreme weather. Powerful storms often leave behind chimney damage. High winds, heavy rain, and sleet batter chimney components like the cap, crown, and flashing. It’s a good idea to look over your chimney for problems after bad weather passes through. If you aren’t proactive, common issues, like a missing chimney cap, loose flashing or a missed chimney leak, can lead to bigger problems—like water damage, toxic mold, and structural problems.

Chimney Damaged Caused by Bad Weather

damaged chimney with missing cap in kenosha wiDisplaced or Damaged Chimney Cover

What keeps rain, snow, sleet, and animals out of your chimney is the chimney cap (or chase cover if you have a prefabricated fireplace). A chimney cap is made of rust-resistant metal and installed over the top of the flue. It has a slanted top for water to run off of and metal mesh around the sides to prevent pests from flying or crawling into the chimney.

If you notice that your chimney cap or chase cover is damaged or askew, call on a chimney professional to repair it! The next time it rains, you’ll be glad you don’t have to worry about water getting into the chimney.

Discolored Bricks/ Efflorescence

After a heavy rainstorm, you may notice white residue discoloring the chimney bricks. That residue is called efflorescence. It is a sign that your chimney masonry is absorbing water. The chalky white substance staining the bricks is salt that was pulled out of the masonry as the water evaporated, leaving the salt behind.

If the chimney masonry is absorbing water, it needs to be sealed with a waterproofing agent by an NFI Certified chimney professional! Otherwise, you may end up with more significant problems than discolored bricks. During Wisconsin’s long winter, the moisture inside the masonry will expand and contract as it freezes and thaws. This process causes cracks and breaks that weaken bricks and mortar. If the problem is left unchecked, it can lead to an expensive full chimney collapse.

Damaged Flashing

Flashing bridges the gap between the chimney and your home’s roof. It’s typically made of rubber or galvanized steel. Without it, rain and snow would fall straight through the crack into your home. Damaged flashing is a leading cause of chimney leaks, which can create a breeding ground for toxic mold and cause damage to nearby walls, ceilings, and floors.

After a storm, look over the flashing for gaps or cracks. If you notice any, call on a chimney repair service to fix the flashing before the next rain or snowfall!

chimney damage, pleasant prairie wiCracked Mortar &/or Broken Bricks

Storms can bring attention to chimney problems that have been festering. Deteriorating masonry is often more noticeable after a storm, even though it is a sign of chronic moisture problems. Heavy rains and high winds can dislodge broken pieces of mortar and brick. Setup a chimney inspection as soon as possible if you notice cracked masonry or fragments of mortar and brick around the chimney!

Chimney masonry deterioration is a serious problem. Your chimney may have both internal and external structural issues. Wait to use your fireplace until the chimney has been inspected and repaired. Using a fireplace with a damaged chimney increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire.

Have you noticed any of these chimney issues? If you have, call the service team at Burlington! Our crew of NFI Certified Chimney Technicians serves residents throughout Southeast Wisconsin. We have experience expertly replacing chimney caps, chimney waterproofing and sealing chimneys, repairing and replacing flashing, and restoring chimney masonry. So give us a call to set up an appointment for a chimney inspection!

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