Keep Your Chimney in Tip-Top Shape This Summer
Like the song says, “Summer is here, and the time is right”; not for dancing in the streets but for ensuring that your chimney is in good working order.
Let’s examine how to keep your chimney in tip-top shape this summer so your fireplace and chimney will be ready when autumn arrives.
Have Your Chimney Inspect and Cleaned
Even if you’ve had your chimney cleaned at the end of winter, it’s wise to have a qualified chimney sweep service perform another inspection and cleaning during the summer. Why? Because of a highly flammable substance called creosote. What is creosote? It’s a dark, tar-like material that accumulates on the inner surfaces of a chimney flue when wood is burned. It’s primarily due to insufficient combustion; it’s made of unburned wood particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and condensed water vapor. Creosote can vary in consistency from a powdery soot to a thick, sticky tar. Creosote will build up each time you burn logs in your fireplace, creating a fire risk. Chimney sweeps have special brushes and cleaners to deal with the problem. They can also check for water damage. When water is absorbed by the bricks and mortar of your chimney, it can expand and contract, which does extensive damage. A chimney sweep will know how to recognize and remedy water damage.
A Tip of the Chimney Cap
If you haven’t already, install a chimney cap. It will keep out wildlife, debris, leaves, pine needles, trash, and rain or snow, which can save you a lot of headaches and repair costs. An adequate cap will have a mesh screening to keep smaller animals, like birds or squirrels, from entering.
Have Your Chimney Checked for Damage
As we said, a certified and experienced chimney sweep will recognize signs of wear and tear on the chimney exterior, including bricks, mortar, and your chimney’s crown. A qualified chimney sweep will check for white staining (efflorescence), a telltale sign of a moisture buildup in your chimney’s masonry, and a clear indication that your chimney needs sealing or other repairs.
Waterproofing Your Chimney
As we have already emphasized, moisture can wreak havoc on your chimney, damaging bricks and mortar. Water in masonry will compromise the structural integrity of your chimney. We strongly advise having a chimney sweep service waterproof your chimney. The process involves applying a breathable sealant that keeps water out but allows moisture inside the chimney to escape.
Clear the Area Near Your Chimney
Cut back any tree limbs or prune branches hanging over or too close to your chimney. They can be a fire hazard, break off in a storm, damage your chimney, or drop leaves or pine needles, leading to obstructions.
Spring For a Chimney Damper
A top-sealing damper can be a good investment. It’s placed at the top of the chimney and seals off completely when it’s not in use. It can keep out humidity, prevent pests from entering, and even save on energy bills by preventing air conditioning from escaping.
A cricket is a small, peaked structure installed on your roof that diverts water and debris around structures, like chimneys, protruding from a roof. Installing a cricket on your roof behind the chimney can greatly benefit the chimney’s longevity and functionality.
By effectively diverting rainwater, snow, and debris around the chimney, a cricket prevents water accumulation and potential seepage, leading to moisture damage, brick deterioration, and the formation of ice dams in winter. Additionally, directing away debris like leaves and twigs minimizes the potential for blockages or obstructions in the chimney.
To Sum Up
Ensuring your chimney is in prime condition during the summer will give you peace of mind when cooler weather arrives in the fall. The steps outlined above ensure a safer, more efficient fireplace experience during the gray winter months. Remember, it’s always easier (and less expensive) to prevent issues than to deal with them after they’ve become major problems.
So, take advantage of the warmer weather and slow season for chimney sweeps services to get your chimney in shape!
Let Burlington Will Get Your Chimney in Shape for Fall
If you live in the greater Milwaukee area or Germantown Lake Geneva, Waukesha, Franklin, Racine, Cedarburg, or Richfield, call us at 262-763-3522 or fill out our contact form. One of our chimney experts will happily discuss getting your chimney in tip-top shape.