Is It Time to Repair Your Chimney? Signs You Should Look Out For
As the cold weather creeps in, it’s time to remember something that you must have ignored for months now — your fireplace. Getting it ready for winter entails checking the chimney for any problems, or better yet, getting a professional to do it.
An article in Care2.com entitled “How to Get Your Fireplace Ready for Winter” published on October 24, 2014, emphasized the important role that keeping your chimney clean plays:
“Good fireplace care starts with the chimney, since it holds the flue that channels smoke safely out of your home. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency cautions against using your fireplace when there is an excessive buildup of oily grime (called creosote) inside the chimney, a leading cause of home heating fires.”
However, cleaning is not always what you need. As you inspect your chimney, you may find out that you need to do more than sweeping the buildup and debris away.
Chimney Repair: The Result of Taking Your Chimney for Granted
Many homeowners make the mistake of ignoring their chimneys. Some assume that it is a worry-free, if not indestructible, part of the house. But in reality, problems are building up without you knowing and seeing until the most destructive and dangerous signs show themselves. If necessary repairs are not done as soon as possible, your home and your family could be in danger.
Telltale Signs Your Chimney is in Need of Repairs
Check out for these signs to know if your chimney is already calling out for help:
- Damaged interior wallpaper – If the wallpaper on the walls near your chimney is damaged, it may be a sign that moisture is building up in the chimney.
- Efflorescence or white staining – White discoloration such as in the photo below also indicated moisture problem. If not attended to immediately, it can cause premature chimney deterioration and other related problems.
- Rust – If your firebox and damper are rusty, take it as a sign that moisture is silently destroying your chimney, as well. While rusting is not always evident, other problems such as operation and sealing issues are indicative of rusting.
- Shaling – If you are noticing thin slices of chimney tile accumulating in the fireplace, it tells that the flue is damaged. The flue lining is a crucial component that ensures the safe operation of the fireplace and chimney.
- Deteriorating and falling mortar joints – Damaged mortar joints in between the chimney’s masonry (as seen below), must be repaired quickly. When the mortar falls off, the chimney becomes more susceptible to moisture damage. Small cracks can also easily pave the way for larger, more dangerous cracks.
- Spalling – As moisture gets into the masonry, it can force the brick, concrete, or stone to peel, pop, and flake. If you see bits of your chimney’s masonry around the bottom of the structure, it’s time to call a professional.
- Chimney crown damage – The crown is also a vital part of the chimney as it provides the first line of defense against harsh weather. If the crown is cracked, moisture can seep in and start creating bigger cracks.
While prevention is still better than cure, repair is your best bet if you already see these signs. Before the weather becomes bad, I suggest you take a look at your chimney now and call a pro for assistance should you notice any of the signs mentioned above.
Bob Dresback is in charge of Garlock-French Corporation’s marketing efforts, which include engaging in customers both in offline and online settings. He has been working in the home improvement industry for over a decade and uses that experience to educate individuals and families on taking care of their homes properly.