As days grew shorter and the weather got colder, many of us retreated indoors to the warmth of our homes and hearths. For those of us who made use of a fireplace during the cold weather months, spring is a great time to make sure your chimney system is in good working order following this period of extensive use. Take this opportunity to call a chimney service technician to inspect your chimney system. If your inspection uncovers any issues, you’ll be able to address it early on, before it gets big, expensive, and potentially dangerous. Water penetration courtesy of snow and ice, a damaged flue liner, and deterioration of mortar joints are just a few issues that’ll require prompt attention.
Wait…That’s Not Supposed to Be There
Chimneys are notorious for leaking; the reason for these leaks is almost always compromised flashing, which is designed to keep water out of the chimney, thereby protecting both the flue and roof. Flashings are made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, copper and galvanized steel. You’ll want to have new chimney flashing installed if yours is missing, rusted through, falling out, or completely covered with roofing tar (this is a common short-term fix that’s sure to be hiding bigger problems). Many homeowners also opt to have new flashing installed when having new shingles put on because they want it to last as long as the new roof.
Ushering Harmful Byproducts Out of Your Home
Problems in your chimney’s flue can present serious risks to your home and family, because it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and vent the products of combustion to the outside of your home. If your current liner was installed improperly or is deteriorating, it is recommended that you either have a new one installed or, if possible, have your current liner repaired. Several different relining options are available—clay and stainless steel are the most popular—depending on both the type of flue liner you currently have and the overall condition of your entire flue. Because of the critical job completed by your chimney liner, it is a critical part. Every chimney needs a working liner.
Out With the Old and in With the New
The mortar used to construct your chimney is exposed to the elements on the outside and the heat from your firebox on the inside, which greatly speeds up the weathering process. Because of this, it is common for it to crumble and fall away, leaving open areas between the bricks, thereby compounding an already bad problem and leading to even more issues. The process for repairing your damaged mortar is known as repointing; the damaged, old and loose mortar on your chimney is removed from the joints between the bricks and replaced with new mortar. Only a skilled professional should perform this work because it requires an experienced hand.
It’s easy to understand why annual chimney system inspections are strongly recommended. In fact, more frequent inspections are recommended for chimneys and flues that endure heavier usage. A proper inspection of your chimney by a qualified chimney professional should include a thorough examination of the external structure to look for signs of deterioration or weakness, as well as a visual inspection of the flue inside your chimney. NFPA code states that cracked chimney liners constitute a significant safety hazard and must be replaced. The chimney professionals at Northeastern Masonry & Chimney are fully prepared to meet all of your chimney inspection and repair needs. Contact us today!