Signs You Need Chimney Repair
An old chimney can be a thing of beauty, but how do you know the difference between a little character and a costly problem? Like most things, if a chimney is neglected, minor issues can become major in a short period of time. If you have a fireplace that you do not use regularly or one that has been giving you concerns, it is best to have it looked at by a certified professional. Here are some key signals that your chimney is in need of attention.
Missing Crown or Cap
The crown of a chimney is just as important as it sounds. The crown surrounds the top of the chimney and serves as an umbrella for the whole structure. Besides being a finishing touch, the crown protects your chimney from the eroding effects of water. A leaky chimney can cause the masonry (brickwork) to crack and break off. This is not just unsightly, the falling bricks can block the flue or eventually cause your whole chimney to fall apart. The cap is just as important, The cap not only inhibits water from getting inside the flue but also acts as a barrier to birds, small animals and other debris. It usually contains a mesh-like material that allows smoke to escape while keeping other material out. A missing cap could be a sign that unwanted debris has gotten into your flue.
Besides being a sign of age, rust is often a sign that water and weather have taken their toll. A rusted cap or flashing may cease to mitigate water damage that can eventually lead to a chimney collapse. Water inside the chimney flue can destroy the chimney liner and the mixture of water with soot and creosote can cause foul odors.
Chimney not Venting
The job of a chimney is to allow smoke from indoor fires to escape the home safely. If your chimney appears blocked, this is definitely a cause for concern. Blockages can occur when small animals get stuck in the flue, birds build nests, or they can occur from soot and creosote buildup. During winter, chimneys can become blocked because of ice and snow. Never light a fire if you suspect that your chimney is blocked. A blocked chimney can send toxic gases flooding your home. Always call for a professional chimney inspection immediately if your chimney is not venting properly.
Chipped Mortar and Damaged Bricks
This can point to excess age or water damage. Though bricks are notoriously durable they can deteriorate over time, leaving your chimney susceptible to all the hazards we mentioned, animals, water damage and eventual collapse.
Don’t wait for the tell-tale signs of chimney failure to stack up on you. One problem can very quickly lead to another, especially if the problem begins with the chimney crown or cap. Recently purchased homes may have chimneys that have been out of use for years or that are due for a cleaning, avoid any further damage or hazards by contacting a certified chimney sweep today.