Most people think their chimney is sturdy, reliable, and virtually indestructible. But something as simple as water can wreak havoc and cause thousands of dollars in damage. In this post, we look at how moisture gets into the chimney, what are the effects, and what you can do to prevent it.
Another crucial component that protects your chimney is the crown, which also sits on top of the chimney. Unlike the cap, the crown is a protective layer designed to keep rain and snow away from the bricks. The most common material used in crown construction is concrete, but can also be made from metal or stone. Like the cap, the crown needs maintenance to keep it in good condition.
The chimney cap sits on top of the chimney, protecting it from water ingress, debris, and animals getting stuck in the flue. Without a cap, your chimney is susceptible to damage, which can affect its performance and speed up deterioration. This is why it’s crucial to install and maintain a cap if you have one.
Cracked bricks allow water in, leading to deterioration, especially in climates that experience harsh winters. Bricks and masonry materials absorb water if they’re not waterproofed. Once water gets in, it freezes in winter and expands, causing tiny cracks that worsen over time. If you don’t keep up with routine chimney inspections and repairs, these cracks can cause brick spalling and loose mortar joints.
Lastly, chimney flashing is the material that guards against water from getting in the gap between your roof and chimney. If the flashing is damaged or missing, your chimney and home are exposed to possible water damage.
As mentioned, when water gets into your chimney, it can wreak havoc. Here are the most common problems of water damage.
Moisture speeds the deterioration of the chimney’s masonry materials and mortar joints and causes rust and corrosion to the metal components, like the damper. Failing to stay up-to-date with maintenance and repairs can compromise your chimney’s structural integrity, leading to a collapse.
Besides a fire, the last thing a homeowner wants is interior water damage. Excess moisture in the home creates the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold spores pose various health hazards, especially for people suffering from allergies, asthma, or respiratory issues. If that weren’t bad enough, mold growth causes the home to smell musty and can decrease its value if you ever want to sell it.
Too much water in the chimney can affect its performance by reducing the draft and airflow, making it difficult for the smoke and toxic gases to escape. This can lead to an increase in creosote buildup and puts you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Finally, chimney dampness can cause your home to smell like an ashtray, especially when humid weather rolls in.
It’s often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s especially true with chimney moisture. Here are our tips to prevent a waterlogged chimney.
Most fire codes require chimney liners even if you have a brick chimney, and the Chimney Safety Institute of America highly recommends them. A chimney liner isn’t just to protect against moisture damage; it improves safety and efficiency. If you have a liner, it’s essential you keep it well maintained and replace it if it’s worn out or if you convert your fireplace from wood to gas or vice versa.
Besides scheduling annual chimney cleaning, it’s essential to hire a professional for yearly inspections too. Chimney inspections performed by trained professionals allow you to spot minor issues like cracked bricks and deteriorating mortar, so you can repair them before they get out of hand.
Once you’ve inspected the chimney and repaired any damage, consider applying a waterproof sealant for extra protection. Today’s waterproofing products repel water but are breathable and can extend the lifespan of your chimney.
If your chimney doesn’t have a cap, installing one is a cost-effective way to beef up protection against moisture. Call a professional to assess your chimney and recommend the right-sized cap that’s most effective.
Whether you’re interested in waterproofing your chimney, need cleaning or inspection, or want to improve your outdoor living space, Doodlebuggers is the go-to expert. Our technicians are not subcontractors; they’re valued team members, highly trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute. Call us today to book an appointment. In Pensacola, call 850-752-0288, and in Destin, call 850-752-0493.