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Keeping Water Out of Your Chimney

Water Leaks In the Chimney Are Never Good!

When most people think about problems that could occur with their chimney, they imagine animals moving in or leaves preventing proper ventilation. What they do not consider is what might happen if excessive amounts of water accumulate within the chimney. In fact, water leaks in the chimney can present some of the most dangerous situations in a chimney. Every homeowner should be aware of the risks and make sure that their chimney is safe and dry. And if there is water making its way in, we can repair it.

A properly installed chimney cap and fitted flashing goes a long way toward waterproofing your chimney.

A properly installed chimney cap and fitted flashing goes a long way toward waterproofing your chimney.

When the chimney becomes wet, it will quickly weaken and begin to crumble. Homeowners should keep in mind that this is true not only of a masonry fireplace but also of a prefabricated model. Once it starts to crumble, it is only a matter of time before the fireplace starts to collapse. This damage can quickly spread and cause structural damage to the home that will go much father than the fireplace.

Another thing to keep in mind when water enters the chimney is that it will freeze and melt along with the weather. This means that the material in the chimney will expand and contract each time. The result will be cracks in the chimney, which not only compromise the stability of the structure but can cause a great deal of other dangers. This is often the condition that starts a domino effect of dangerous chimney issues.

Once there are cracks in the chimney, the heat barrier is not as effective as it should be. This means that the structure of the home is getting much hotter than it should. In addition, it means that combustible gasses travel into the home instead of leaving the way that they should. The result is a dangerous combination of circumstances that can very quickly turn into a devastating house fire.

In many cases, moisture gets into the chimney becomes there are problems with the flue liner. Older homes may not have liners at all and, if this is the case, one needs to be installed before the fireplace is used again. Metal liners tend to hold up better than clay or tile models but even they are not foolproof if they are not installed properly. It is imperative that there are no spaces at all between the flue liner and the actual wall of the chimney. Even the smallest space could allow water in, starting a whole host of problems.

The problem is that the average homeowner has no way of knowing when there is water inside of their chimney. Installing a chimney cap is a great way to avoid many of these issues because it keeps rain and snow out of the chimney. However, it is still important to have a certified chimney sweep inspect the chimney each year. They will be able to tell easily if there is a problem with the liner or if water is entering the chimney in any other way. This should be done every year, either at the beginning or end of the fireplace season.

There are many issues that can arise with a chimney, which is why proper chimney maintenance is so important. Water in the chimney may not seem like a big deal but it can actually be the start of many problems. The result may be significant structural damage to the home or even a house fire. To avoid these issues, install a chimney cap and have the chimney professionally inspected each year.

Maintaining Proper Draft

With the wintertime ahead of us, many homeowners will begin to break out the blankets, hot chocolate, and the fireplaces.  Before getting too cozy, make sure you have gotten everything ready for a safe burning season.  Chimney sweeps are the first step in preventative maintenance, along with having someone check for minor damages that are recommended for once a year.

If you have a smoky fire, this could be a sign there is blockage in your chimney.

If you have a smoky fire, this could be a sign there is blockage in your chimney.

One of the main problems caused with a fireplace is a draft problem within the chimney.  The capacity, how much air can flow through the chimney, and the draft, how much air can flow through the chimney, work together in a positive correlation.  When there is a problem it can become dangerous because smoke is not able to flow out of the home.  Chimney sweeps are very important to preventing draft problems because they remove all the layers of creosote that have built up in your chimney.  This will also remove any fallen pieces of brick or twigs and leaves.  Also, they make sure that there are no leaks in your chimney, as any in the lower half will cause airflow issues.

If none of these are the cause of your chimney’s problem, you may need to look further or get a professional.  Sometimes the size of the chimney is the problem, whether it is too wide or too short, and just by doubling the height you can increase the draft by 41 percent.  If you have a small home that is well sealed, your house could be too tight to allow the air inside to ventilate.  If this is the problem, opening a window may be a quick fix.  If after checking all of these places you draft is still not fixed it may be time to get a new combustion-air system.  Unfortunately, the last result would be to install a new chimney.  If you recognize a problem, do not ignore it as a small problem can always grow into something bigger.