Common Expenses Associated with Chimneys
Regularly investing in fireplace maintence will protect your house and loved ones from the risks of a damaged chimney. These are the most common costs of maintaining a chimney:
Mortar Repairs & Waterproofing
A masonry chimney will eventually crumble without strong mortar joints. Since mortar deteriorates overtime, it is necessary to have cracks and holes filled in when they occur. Especially since openings in the mortar will allow moisture to get into the masonry which will cause more deterioration.
Having the bricks and mortar treated with a waterproofing sealant is another way to increase the longevity of your chimney. Untreated masonry deteriorates more quickly because bricks and mortar are very absorbent. When the moisture in them freezes and thaws, it weakens them and eventually causes them to break and crumble.
Chimneys are known for being leaky. If you have a leaking chimney, most likely, failing chimney flashing is the actual cause. Chimney flashing is supposed to seal the area between the roof and the chimney from water. When this flashing rusts or peels away, water is able to seep into the gap between the roof and the chimney damaging roofing, structural beams, and eventually drywall and insulation. It can also cause black mold to grow. Replacing bad flashing quickly is the best way to prevent water damage.
Chimney Liner/Flue liner
Chimney liners usually have a long useable life but you may have to invest in one if your chimney isn’t lined, the liner is damaged or if it is the wrong size for your chimney.
The chimney liner, also known as the flue liner, is one of the most important components of a chimney because it prevents combustion byproducts such as creosote and carbon monoxide from getting into other parts of your home. This essential job function prevents carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires. Chimney liners also improve the efficiency of the fireplace by facilitating proper airflow.
While it is standard practice for chimneys to be built with a flue liner, there are still builders who neglect to install them or install them improperly. Masonry chimneys in homes built before the 1950s are also less likely to have one.
Using a fireplace without a chimney liner is extremely dangerous. If you plan on using your chimney, it is smart to invest in a liner.
There are 3 types of flue liners: clay tile liners, poured-cement liners and metal flue liners which are typically made of stainless steel. Clay tile liners have been the most popular for masonry fireplaces but they are being replaced by stainless steel liners. Stainless steel liners are growing in popularity because they are less challenging and less expensive to install. Stainless steel flue liners can last for up to 25 years and many come with lifetime warranties.
Chimney Inspections & Cleanings
Deteriorating mortar joints, defunct flashing, and a missing or damaged flue liner are all problems that are most likely to be noticed by a chimney expert during an inspection.
Annual chimney inspections and cleanings are recommended by both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Taking their recommendation can save you thousands of dollars in the future. Water damage and structural damage that originate in the chimney can spread to other parts of your home if caught too late. Safety risks such as carbon monoxide poisoning and a house fire can also result from undiagnosed issues that are discovered too late. Early detection may save both your life and your home.
CSIA certified chimney technicians or chimney sweeps are trained to recognize minor and major issues. During their inspection, they will look for signs of structural damage, remove any obstructions to air flow that they might find, make sure that the damper and other chimney components are working properly, and clean out build-up of creosote (a flammable combustion byproduct that is the leading cause of chimney fires which can grow into house fires).
Whether you have a gas, pellet or wood burning fireplace, fireplace insert or stove, if it is vented through a chimney, the chimney should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
If you are looking for certified chimney experts in Central Connecticut to take care of your chimney, give us a call! We are trusted by homeowners from West Hartford and East Windsor to Bloomfield and Weatogue.