As the weather starts to cool, more and more families begin using their fireplaces for the cold, winter season. While a crackling fire in the fireplace provides ambiance and warmth, the weather outside could be damaging your chimney or chimney structure.
Weather conditions during the winter including freezing rain, snow, ice, or freezing temperatures can all have a negative impact on your chimney structure. Because of this, it is extremely important to have an annual chimney inspection each year to ensure that your chimney has not been damaged and is still safe to use.
One of the primary ways chimneys are damaged during the winter is through water damage. Water damage can cause a multitude of problems throughout the interior and exterior fireplace and chimney system, ranging from damage to the masonry to rusting parts of the flue. While chimneys may seem relatively simple, they are actually quite complex. Because of this, pinpointing the exact cause of water damage may be difficult. Below are two of the most common culprits that cause moisture to enter a chimney.
Masonry damage: The bricks with which chimneys are built are inherently porous, meaning they are meant to not be completely solid. While this allows dangerous gasses to pass through the bricks and into the outside air, it also means that the bricks are able to absorb small amounts of water.
Bricks and mortar that are constantly exposed to the elements, such as those in a chimney, can be damaged over time due to the freeze-thaw process. This occurs when water that has been absorbed by the masonry materials freezes and expands, causing undue stress on the masonry. If left unfixed, over time this can cause serious damage to the chimney structure.
Damaged chimney cap: A damaged chimney cap can be difficult to spot because they are almost impossible to see without being on the roof itself. Chimney caps cover the top of the chimney structure, preventing rain, sleet, and snow from entering the chimney. An improperly installed or damaged chimney cap often allows water to enter the chimney or fireplace, causing further damage.
How to prevent chimney damage
Preventative maintenance is often the best way to prevent winter weather damage to a chimney structure. During an annual chimney sweep and inspection, a trained technician will be able to spot any potential hazards before they turn into major issues. This can save thousands of dollars in the long run, as repairs for minor problems can be made quickly and cost effectively.
In addition, Fire Safe Chimney Sweep can give bricks and mortar a special waterproof coating. Using the specially designed ChimneySaver sealant allows harmful gasses to escape through the brick without letting water in. The product also comes with a 10 year warranty, guaranteeing it to keep working for years to come.
If you’re interested in learning more about how winter weather may affect your chimney, need to schedule an annual cleaning or inspection, or would like more information on ChimneySaver waterproofing, contact Fire Safe Chimney Sweep today!