The Top 5 Chimney Killers
Your chimney is a vital and important part of your house if you have a fireplace. A healthy chimney protects your home from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. If it fails, it can leave your family at risk. A failing chimney can also be costly to repair if it is structurally unsound or has a leak that causes water damage to surrounding walls, floors and ceilings. You can prevent these risks by protecting your home from these 5 chimney killers.
Water is the chief enemy of chimneys. When moisture gets into a chimney, it can cause a wide range of problems. It can warp and corrode a metal flue liner or cause a tile flue liner to chip and break. If it seeps into the masonry during the cold months, it can cause the bricks and mortar to crack the water inside it freezes and thaws. If the water spreads from the chimney to the surrounding area, it can cause expensive damage to walls, ceilings and floors. A moist chimney can also be a breeding ground for toxic black mold.
The best way to prevent water problems in your chimney is by waterproofing the chimney masonry, investing in a chimney cap and scheduling regular chimney inspections. Visually inspecting the chimney’s flashing yourself, especially after storms, to make sure it doesn’t look broken or loose can also help prevent a chimney leak.
Creosote is a chemical compound produced by burning wood. It builds up along the walls of chimneys attached to wood burning fireplaces. It is the leading cause of house fires because it is extremely flammable and can burn at high temperatures for long periods of time. It is also corrosive. When moisture gets into the chimney and activates it, it can warp and damage the chimney liner.
Making sure that your chimney is professionally cleaned every spring, after using your fireplace, reduces these risks. Creosote is difficult to remove on your own without professional training and equipment. Even a small amount in your chimney can be a fire hazard.
3. Severe Weather
Harsh winds, lightening strikes and fallen branches can hurt your chimney. Since a chimney stands above the rest of your home, it is the most vulnerable to damage from severe weather. It is a good practice to visually inspect your chimney after any severe weather event. If it looks like something is wrong, contact a professional chimney technician immediately to setup an inspection! Tackling small repairs quickly, like replacing a missing chimney cap or broken crown, is the best way to prevent expensive future repairs. Small chimney problems usually become much bigger and more expensive to repair if they are not resolved quickly.
4. Amateur Work
Chimneys are more complex than they may seem. Hiring a novice chimney technician or trying a DIY chimney cleaning could damage your chimney or result in extra costs. For example, an improperly installed chimney cap or incorrectly sized and installed flue liner could shorten the life of your chimney. In contrast, relying on a CSIA-certified chimney technician to clean and inspect your chimney regularly is the best way to extend the lifespan of your chimney and reduce the risk of chimney hazards.
Both the National Fire Protection Association and Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend an annual chimney cleaning and inspection because neglect is the leading causes of a failing chimney. Skipping annual cleanings and inspections allows creosote to build up in your chimney, corroding your chimney liner and increasing the risk of a house fire. It also increases the risk that a minor, undiagnosed problem will escalate into more severe problems. Chimney problems are often impossible to diagnose on your own since most are hidden from sight.
Fight these chimney killers with Chimney Solutions’ help! We serve residents throughout the Atlanta area providing chimney cleanings, chimney inspections, and repairs. All the technicians on our team are CSIA Certified to ensure we remain on top of industry standards, product knowledge, and best practices.