Even in Georgia, where there’s not much snow to speak of, winter can be harsh on chimneys. Freezing and thawing cycles can adversely affect the chimney structure. A chimney that is in disrepair can be a fire hazard, which is why it’s best to get an annual inspection and cleaning in spring or summer. If structural damage has occurred due to excess moisture or other winter conditions, there will be plenty of time for repairs before cold weather comes back around. There are also steps you can take now to help prevent moisture damage in the future.
When brick or stone and mortar chimneys have prolonged contact with moisture, deterioration of the structure is accelerated. What tends to happen is that mortar joints erode as a result of water seeping into them. Bricks and stones are vulnerable to cracking as a result of excess moisture, and moisture can seep down the chimney and into the home.
There are many types of damage which can occur as a result of moisture in the chimney, including the following:
• The exterior of the chimney can become stained.
• The chimney structure can deteriorate to the point of collapsing or tilting.
• Metal firebox and masonry assemblies can deteriorate.
• Dampers can rust and fail to function effectively.
• Walls and wall coverings in the home can be stained.
• The moisture mixed with creosote in the chimney can cause a very bad odor to seep into the home.
• The home’s central heating and cooling system can be damaged.
The most inexpensive and essential approach to moisture prevention in a chimney system is a chimney cap. These must-have accessories prevent large amounts of water from going into the chimney. Caps which include a mesh are the best, since they prevent animals from getting into the chimney and work as a spark guard, to help stop hot sparks from flying out of the chimney. You can also avoid having to clear away obstruction caused by a bird’s nest at the top of your chimney, with a chimney cap.
Some chimneys are compromised by the amount of water run-off which channels toward it on the rooftop. A cricket is a mini diversion roof which effectively prevents the chimney from being deluged. Crickets are most commonly used on chimneys with a steep roof, on chimneys located on the roof’s low side, and on structures that are wider than 29 inches.
Masonry chimneys are typically constructed with porous materials which tend to absorb moisture easily. Waterproofing agents are available which help to protect the structure from excess moisture. Not all chimney professionals are in agreement about the effectiveness of this measure. Contact our professionals, who will be more than glad to discuss this as well as any questions you may have about your chimney and venting systems.
Maintenance and Repair
If your chimney has been damaged by moisture, it should be repaired before any further deterioration occurs. Whatever type of repair is needed, our professional chimney sweeps are qualified and ready to help. Don’t put it off; call us for a chimney inspection today.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004