Spring Cleaning of Your Chimney May Uncover Winter Damage
After a tough winter, spring is more welcome than ever. Many people look forward to annual spring cleaning but don’t realize the chimney needs attention, too. Actually, it makes a lot of sense to get a chimney inspection after a harsh winter because damage done by winter weather could be revealed before it causes too much damage to your home.
Winter Weather and Chimneys
During repeated freezing and thawing cycles of winter and times in which rooftops are covered with snow, damage could be occurring to your chimney. Nothing is more damaging to a chimney than moisture. What worsens winter moisture is that it gets inside the mortar and expands and contracts. This movement of the bricks and stones causes damage, and it is not unusual for the face of the masonry to break off. When masonry begins to crumble, your chimney could begin to lean. If not repaired, the chimney could collapse.
Damage Revealed by Inspections
The damage to a chimney can be hidden when observing the structure from the ground floor. Not only does it sometimes require a closer look to spot damage, it sometimes requires an expert eye and special equipment. There are many types of damage that can be the direct result of a freezing cold, wet winter. Our chimney technicians are trained and know what to look for, to identify moisture damage, even in early stages. The following are more of the types of damage revealed during spring cleaning and inspection of chimneys:
- The chimney crown is at the very top of the chimney, and it is vulnerable to harsh weather. The cement crown on a chimney will often crack. If not repaired at an early stage of damage, a teardown and replacement are needed.
- The metal flashing where the chimney and the rooftop meet is very vulnerable to moisture. It is difficult to achieve a waterproofed flashing, which is why it’s important to check it and ensure that it is watertight. The metal flashing frequently rusts and is one of the major causes of chimney leaks. The moisture from winter can accelerate the rusting process. Once water can get through, it doesn’t take long for damage to occur. Left unchecked, leaky flashing can result in major structural damage to your roof.
- If moisture enters the chimney flue, it mixes with the creosote, and the result is usually accelerated deterioration. The important function of the flue is to protect combustible parts of the home from the intense heat in the chimney. If even a small crack develops in the flue, the result could be a house fire. When a house fire is the result of a chimney fire and damaged flue, there is very little time for occupants of the home to safely escape, due to the intensity of the blaze.
- If you used your chimney and wood stove a lot during the cold winter, there is a lot more creosote buildup than when the season started. It may be time not only for an inspection but also a cleaning. It’s important to clean creosote regularly because it has three forms, the second and third stages more difficult to remove and more potentially dangerous than the previous.
Don’t leave the condition of your chimney to guesswork. Contact our chimney professionals for a spring cleaning and inspection of your chimney, fireplace, and wood stove.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110