When the harsh winter weather fades, the days get longer, and the sun peeks out more, you may discover that your chimney took a bit of a beating over the colder months. Chimneys are often targets during winter storms, freezing temperatures, and blustery winds.
Here are a few telltale signs your chimney needs repair and how to do it.
Clearly, in any roofing feature, there is an issue if you see a crack. However, chimney cracks can lead to serious damage when not addressed. Winter weather can cause cracks to expand in the freezing temperatures, which can lead to moisture buildup, and weaken the structure of the base. Without adding new mortar and sealing up emerging or existing cracks, your chimney can deteriorate from the outside in—or even collapse.
Beyond the base, the crown of your chimney, located on the top to protect the rest of the brick-and-mortar base, is an integral part of protection. When cracks form, the entire structure of the chimney is compromised. And, since it’s at the very top, it is exposed to the harshest conditions during winter.
If you notice small, minor cracks forming on the crown, you can seal them with a waterproof material. However, if the cracks are deep and the damage has already begun to spread, it is best to replace your crown completely.
A variety of weather-related complications can cause leaks. Masonry damage, crown damage or removal, chimney caps falling off, or warped flashing can all contribute to your chimney starting to leak.
Crowns and caps can be replaced. However, if the damage has gotten bad enough, the inside of your chimney could also need repairs. If you notice a strange, musty smell near your fireplace, discoloration near the flashing or base of the chimney, or damp, wet patches on the ceiling or tops of the walls near your fireplace, these are signs your chimney leaks.
To remedy the issue, you’ll need to go up inside, detect the severity of the damage, replace the mortar and brick, and reseal the areas where cracks and damage have led to leaks. This is not easy, considering many homeowners don’t have the tools to work on chimneys from the inside out. If you don’t feel prepared to fix the damage of a leaky chimney, call a professional service before the damage worsens.
Wood Burning Remnants
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, the debris from using it all winter can cause serious buildup and damage. Creosote and soot are often found inside the chimney; they naturally occur when burning wood. However, if you have enough buildup, internal fires can start—in fact, many chimney fires begin from too much creosote buildup.
If you haven’t cleaned your chimney in a while, you are long overdue for a thorough sweep to ensure you aren’t living with a fire hazard. Professionals will come in with tools, solvents, and other necessary cleaning supplies to ensure your chimney is spotless for the next season. Considering creosote is highly flammable, it’s best to clean your chimney after every winter season, at the very least.
When you discover mother nature wasn’t so kind to your chimney during the winter, the best thing you can do is fix the issue right away. We’re here to help if and when you need a chimney repair or replacement.