Don’t Ignore These Common Signs of Chimney Damage!
Repairing a damaged chimney can be a huge expense if you don’t catch the problem early. Your chimney isn’t just a vent for your fireplace; it is a part of your home’s architecture. Structural or water damage to the chimney can impact the rest of your house. In addition, using your fireplace when the chimney is in disrepair can create other hazards, such as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or a house fire. If you spot any of these common signs of chimney damage, call on a specialist!
Broken Chimney Damper
The damper controls the flow of air through the chimney. Therefore, it is crucial to have it open whenever a fire is burning in the fireplace. Otherwise, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Opening and closing the damper should be easy. If you are struggling to do it, most likely, it’s warped or trapped by debris. It should be cleaned or replaced and functioning correctly before you light up your fireplace again.
Damaged Chimney Crown or Chimney Cap
Many moisture problems begin with the chimney crown or chimney cap. If you notice that one or both are missing, call on a chimney expert! Ensuring that the problem doesn’t spread should be your top priority.
White Chalky Residue on Bricks (Efflorescence)
White, chalky residue on the bricks of your chimney is called efflorescence. It is a warning sign that water is seeping into the chimney’s masonry. It could be caused by a broken chimney crown, a missing or damaged chimney cap, or another problem. Bricks and mortar are porous and can absorb water almost like a sponge. This is why water intrusion is a common problem that needs addressing.
The solution to this problem will depend on how water is getting into the chimney system. If water is seeping in the masonry directly, treating bricks and mortar with a waterproofing sealant may be the best solution.
Cracked and Broken Bricks & Mortar (Spalling)
Spalling is the term for bricks and mortar that’s cracked and broken. It is a sign that the chimney’s masonry is deteriorating, most likely due to water issues.
Water that seeps into the chimney masonry freezes and thaws. This causes bricks and mortar to contract and expand. Over time, the freeze-thaw cycle wears down the masonry resulting in structural damage. Widespread spalling is a severe problem. If left unaddressed, your chimney can deteriorate to the point that it collapses. You can prevent this by calling on a certified chimney technician as soon as you notice spalling.
Shaling Flue Tiles
Have you noticed bits of clay in the firebox? If you have, most likely, it is shaling or deteriorating flue liner. Most flues are lined to improve fireplace efficiency and prevent both carbon monoxide and sparks from escaping. Unfortunately, there are many potential causes of shaling flue tiles. Calling on a professional chimney sweep to inspect your chimney is the best way to determine your shaling problem’s cause and proper solution.
Dark water spots around the chimney or wet stones in the firebox are bad signs. They are indicators of a chimney leak. Chimney leaks are a well-known problem for fireplace owners.
A chimney leak can spread water damage to nearby walls, ceilings, and structural beams. It can also create a breeding ground for toxic black mold. But, as with the other chimney problems, early intervention can save you hundreds.
Broken or Missing Chimney Flashing
Chimney flashing covers the gap between the chimney and the roof. If it’s broken or missing, water can freely flow down the hole and into your home. It is a good idea to check the flashing around your chimney after every storm for signs of rust or warped or missing pieces. If it needs to be repaired, don’t hesitate to call a certified chimney sweep! We have the training and experience to repair and replace chimney flashing properly.
Significant structural damage can bring down a chimney. Keeping an eye out for these warning signs can prevent that. Being vigilant could spare your wallet or your life, depending on the severity of the problem. Give us a call if you need to set up an inspection! Our highly trained staff look forward to meeting you!