3 Things That Can Affect Your Chimney In Spring/Summer
You may only operate your chimney for part of the year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t fall prey to trouble at other times. Here are three things to be aware of during the spring and summer than can adversely affect your chimney.
1. Small animal infestation
If your chimney isn’t fitted with a secure chimney cap, you could be opening up the structure to all manner of small animals. Squirrels, rats, birds, snakes and many other critters can consider an open, un-used chimney a nice place to hang out. Some of these animals will make nests for their babies in chimneys. Others will manage to get into the chimney but will be unable to get out and therefore die inside.
Both animals and their nests create serious obstructions that impede the flow of smoke once the fireplace is back in use. Solve this problem by contacting a professional chimney sweep to clean your chimney. NOTE: If you suspect there are live animals in your chimney, enlist the services of your local animal control organization.
2. Debris obstruction
Another problem that can happen with your chimney if there is no cap in place is obstruction by debris. Flying leaves and twigs from nearby trees can wind up inside the chimney and begin blocking the airflow.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, there may be large amounts of creosote stuck to the inside of the flue. In this case, debris will only add to the obstruction. This problem is easily solved by ordering a complete cleaning and inspection by a trained chimney services professional. (Creosote is highly flammable, and for this reason, all fire-safety organizations recommend annual cleanings for chimneys connected to wood-burning fireplaces.)
3. Damage from water
In the spring and summer, rain storms can create problems in many areas of a chimney system.
Bricks and mortar: The smallest cracks in the building materials of your chimney can allow water to seep in and begin a destructive pattern. Moisture inside bricks and mortar will freeze and then thaw, each time causing more damage. In some cases, this problem can be fixed with a waterproof sealant. In other cases, some re-building of the damaged areas is necessary.
Flashing: The flashing around the chimney where it disappears into the roof can become warped or eroded over time. When this happens, water can flow down between the chimney and the home’s building materials and create significant damage. Flashing can be repaired or replaced.
Crown: The chimney crown, like the bricks of the structure, can eventually crack and let water in. Once that happens, the entire crown can begin to crumble and water can begin affecting other chimney materials. Crowns can be sealed or repaired/rebuilt.
Chimney cap: Chimney caps last a long time, but they can experience damage. The cap protects the inside of the flue from water and things that cause obstructions, as we mentioned above. Chimney caps can be inspected, and then repaired or replaced as necessary.
Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford, CT, provides a full menu of inspection, chimney cleaning, maintenance and repair services throughout our region of Connecticut. Call us at (860) 233-5770 to ensure that your chimney and fireplace are clean, safe and efficient for the upcoming winter season.