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Don’t Put off Your Chimney Repairs

Each fall, when temperatures start to drop, homeowners rush to have their chimneys repaired before the weather becomes cold, wet and snowy.

The urgency to schedule chimney repairs makes sense: The masonry materials used for many chimney repairs can’t be applied in wet or cold weather. That means if you don’t have your chimney repaired before winter weather sets in, your chimney repairs could be delayed until the weather breaks in the spring. And delayed repairs can leave your chimney susceptible to further damage this winter.

Water’s effects on an unrepaired chimneydont-put-off-your-chimney-repairs-img-indianapolis-in-your-chimney-sweep

One of the biggest concerns with a damaged chimney is that it can allow water to leak in through your chimney. On your chimney’s exterior, water that is absorbed can freeze within the masonry when temperatures drop, causing bricks and mortar to crack and crumble. Water that makes its way into your chimney can damage the tile flue liner and can rust your chimney’s damper, the firebox and fireplace doors. If the chimney leak reaches your home’s structure, it can cause joists to rot, warp and mold, and it can cause ceilings and wallboards to discolor and sag. While the repair you are delaying this fall might seem like a minor repair, as your chimney endures wet and freezing temperatures this winter, that unchecked minor repair can lead to major chimney or home damage.

Addressing chimney repairs

The first step in addressing chimney damage is to have your chimney inspected. During your chimney inspection, your chimney technician will evaluate the damage and advise the best course of action for repairing your chimney and preparing it for winter. Some of the most common chimney repairs include:
  • Chimney cap replacement. Your chimney cap prevents water from running down your chimney’s flue. Chimney caps can rust or become dislodged. It is crucial to have a secure chimney cap in place before winter, as your chimney cap is your chimney’s primary defense against water.
  • Chimney crown repair. Your chimney crown seals the top of your chimney to the flue and helps direct water away from the flue opening. Because chimney crowns are masonry structures, they can develop cracks or crumbles due to the freeze-thaw cycle. A damaged chimney crown should be repaired before winter, as damage can worsen and let water leak down your chimney’s interior.
  • Tuckpointing. While your chimney’s bricks can last for generations, the mortar that holds them together isn’t so durable. Eventually, mortar will become fragile and begin to crumble away. Tuckpointing removes crumbling mortar joints and reseals them with fresh mortar. Crumbling mortar can lead to chimney leaks and can weaken your chimney’s structure. Over winter, mortar deterioration can worsen due to the freeze-thaw cycle.
  • Flashing replacement. Flashing seals the base of your chimney at the roofline, preventing roof leaks around the chimney. Flashing can pull away from the chimney or develop holes or cracks over time, causing leaking. Ignoring compromised flashing could leave you with a major roof leak when winter’s wet weather strikes.

If your chimney is in need of repair, call Your Chimney Sweep to schedule an appointment today! We can assess your chimney and schedule repairs to save your chimney from further damage this winter.

By Joe Sauter on October 12th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Preparing your chimney for winter

Your chimney gets the most use during the cold winter months, and it also takes the most abuse. When temperatures drop, your chimney bears the heat of your fireplace as well as the cold winter temperatures, ice and snow. There are several things you can do to prepare your chimney for winter fires and winter weather.


Schedule your annual cleaning and inspection.

Preparing your chimney for winter begins with your annual chimney cleaning and inspection by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. The cleaning will make sure that your chimney is free from creosote, blockages, cracks and water damage. When your chimney undergoes its annual cleaning and inspection, you can feel confident that your chimney is ready for the fire-burning season.

Install a chimney cap.

Winter brings the potential for water damage to your chimney, and when water penetrates your chimney, it can leak down the walls of your flue, damaging the metal liner or masonry, rusting your damper and even causing damage to your fireplace. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the best way to protect your chimney from water damage is installing a chimney cap. Installing a chimney cap this fall can have your chimney ready to fend of rain, ice and snow.

Check your chimney’s flashing.

The flashing around the base of your chimney keeps water from running into your home where the roof meets the chimney. Over time, that flashing can break down and leave your home susceptible to water damage. Before the winter snow and ice, make sure your flashing is secure, and have it repaired, if needed. If your chimney is on a portion of your chimney that is exposed to a lot of rainwater or melting snow, you can consider installing a metal cricket to divert the water from the base of your chimney.

Repair any cracks.

Over time, your chimney’s masonry, whether it’s the bricks or your chimney crown, can crack or spall. Those cracks can become worse during the winter when your chimney is exposed to excess moisture and freezing temperatures. Make sure you address any damaged masonry now so problems don’t become worse this winter.

Consider waterproofing.

Consider applying a waterproof seal to the outside of your chimney to protect the chimney from water damage. When water seeps into your chimney’s masonry during the winter months, that water can freeze, expanding and causing cracks to the brick, the same way it causes potholes in the road. Chimney water proofing keeps water out while still allowing your chimney’s masonry to breathe.

Call the chimney experts.

As you prepare your chimney for winter, call the chimney experts at Your Chimney Sweep. We can provide you with your annual chimney cleaning and inspection, repair any problems you may have with your chimney and talk to you about waterproofing to protect your chimney’s masonry. We can help you prepare your chimney for this winter’s harsh weather!