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Does an Unused Chimney Need Ventilation?

chimney leakA common question homeowners ask when retiring a chimney is whether ventilation is still needed. That’s actually a very good query but it’s not the only thing to consider. It’s important to remember that chimney leaks can still cause damage to your roof structure and home interior, even if the chimney is never used. Below, learn more about how to properly retire a chimney.

Do Unused Chimneys Need Ventilation?

Yes, chimneys need to breathe, even if they won’t be used anymore. The vast majority of problems with chimneys are related to moisture, and that’s the issue as regards ventilation. If there is no air flow in the chimney, moisture gets trapped and deterioration of the chimney structure will be accelerated. In addition, the home’s interior could be affected by moisture damage.

A retired chimney should be sealed only at the top or bottom. This will allow air to pass through the chimney and help prevent problems caused by moisture. If your damper is near the firebox, you can use insulation to seal the chimney. When retiring a chimney, many chimney experts recommend using Roxul, a hydrophobic mineral wool insulation, which means that it will dry out if it ever gets wet.

Install a Chimney Cap

Chimney capThe battle to keep moisture out of the chimney is the same whether it’s in use or not. If you don’t have a chimney cap, it’s essential to have one installed to keep out rain and snow. When water is able to pour directly into your chimney, it will be almost impossible to avoid major repairs from the resulting damage.

In addition to keeping moisture out of a chimney, chimney caps with mesh prevent animals from getting in and sparks from getting out.

You can choose from several materials for a chimney cap. Galvanized steel is the least expensive, but it is prone to rust much more quickly than other options. The rust can run down the chimney and roof, causing unsightly stains. Stainless steel chimney caps won’t rust, and they are very durable. Even though the upfront cost is higher, stainless steel is the better investment. Copper chimney caps are the most decorative and most expensive. They can last up to 90 years; and the copper looks good whether polished or whether patina, a colored film, forms on the copper surface.

Continue Chimney Inspections

As long as you have a masonry chimney, there is the possibility that moisture will get into the system and cause damage. If moisture gets into masonry, deterioration occurs because of freezing and thawing cycles. Movement in bricks as ice expands and contracts causes spalling, which means the brick begins to break up. Over time, the chimney could begin leaning and may completely collapse, which could cause injuries and household damage.

Contact Chimney Solutions

Call on the trained, certified chimney experts at Chimney Solutions for help with your retired chimney. We can help you avoid expensive repair costs associated with an appliance you don’t even use anymore. Call us today at (770) 255-1300.

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