The Importance of Maintaining Masonry Chimneys
When chimneys are out of sight and out of mind, chimney maintenance is too easily neglected. What people don’t realize is that deteriorating chimneys can become money pits. Even worse, home safety is compromised if a fireplace is used when the chimney has not been maintained.
It may seem like an “expense” to follow the advice of all fire safety experts and schedule annual chimney inspections.
In reality, though, inspections ultimately save you money by cutting repair costs. Anyone who has the recommended annual inspections can get a jump on problematic situations. By scheduling chimney repairs at the beginning stages of a problem, the cost is greatly reduced.
A good example of cost-cutting is when mortar begins to deteriorate. If the mortar wears away and nothing is done about it, moisture will be able to get into the masonry. Once water gets in, it will freeze and thaw in winter. As the water expands and contracts, the bricks are damaged. Spalling occurs, which means the brick face begins flaking and popping off. The chimney will begin to lean and may collapse.
Repairing a spalling chimney involves a partial or full teardown and rebuild. If, on the other hand, the mortar is repaired before moisture gets in, the expense is greatly reduced. A procedure known as “tuckpointing” is used. Old mortar is removed and new mortar is added in a way that maintains a uniform look on the entire chimney and gives the structure new strength and stability.
Nearly all of the problems you might experience with the exterior of your chimney are because of moisture intrusion. A proactive approach to chimney maintenance includes having chimney professionals add waterproofing to your chimney. The product used for waterproofing will provide an extra layer of protection against moisture damage.
Many of the house fires that occur in association with heating appliances each year are caused by starting a fire without first having the chimney inspected. The first fire of a winter season is often when house fires occur, and it’s because the condition of the chimney was unknown but the fireplace was used, anyway.
There are potential dangers associated with enjoying a fireplace or wood stove. With annual chimney inspections, potential dangers can be exposed and repairs can be made. The following are some of the dangers associated with using a chimney that has not been properly maintained:
- Because of an obstruction in the chimney, a dangerous chimney fire can start. Chimney fires can easily cause house fires. An obstruction may be caused by layered creosote that has built up for over a year—perhaps for several years. Creosote is highly flammable and increases the risk of a chimney fire.
- Whether the obstruction in a chimney is caused by creosote or by debris such as leaves and branches, one potential result is that toxic fumes will enter the home. Among the toxic fumes is carbon monoxide, which is almost impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, invisible, symptomless, and deadly.
The best chimney sweep services company in the Atlanta area is Chimney Solutions. If you want to reduce the costs of chimney maintenance, schedule a chimney inspection and chimney cleaning today. Our certified chimney sweeps will help you keep your family safe and can help prevent your chimney from becoming a money pit that drains your finances. Call Chimney Solutions today at (770) 255-1300.