4 Interior and Exterior Chimney Problems & How to Solve Them
A chimney that’s in good repair is a chimney that does its job safely and efficiently. When damage or other problems develop within the chimney system, the best move is to arrange for a professional inspection and then chimney repair or chimney sweep services to restore soundness to the structure.
Here are four fairly common issues that chimney service techs see on a regular basis.
When addressing leaks in a chimney, the first step is to determine exactly where the leak is coming from. We know that water is getting into the system somewhere, and we need to know where. Many things can be responsible for a chimney leak including:
- A damaged or missing chimney cap
- Cracking in the chimney crown
- Warped flashing
- Spalling bricks
- Internal masonry damage due to a faulty chimney liner
If left unattended, a chimney leak can lead to widespread rot and decay within the chimney structure and the house itself.
Damaged chimney masonry
External damage to the bricks and mortar of a chimney is fairly easy to spot: cracks are obvious, bricks are loose, often there are patches of crumbling scattered around on the roof. Various approaches can be used to repair damaged masonry such as:
Tuckpointing: A strong, new compound is added to areas where bricks are missing.
Partial chimney rebuilding: Depending on where the masonry damage is and the extent of it, it may be necessary to rebuild sections of the chimney.
Complete chimney rebuilding: For chimneys with extensive damage that makes them unsafe to use or live around, a total chimney rebuild can restore safety to the home and your family.
Chimney waterproofing: In cases of minor cracking in the mortar, a waterproof sealant can be applied to the chimney to prevent damage caused by incoming water.
Efflorescence on exterior chimney bricks
Efflorescence is the white staining sometimes seen on the outside of chimneys. When this is present, it means that moisture is getting into the bricks and pushing out the naturally occurring salt within the bricks, leading to the unsightly stain.
If efflorescence is the only problem you have with your chimney, you’re fortunate. By scheduling a certified chimney inspection to assess the extent of the water-infiltration and then having the reason for the problem repaired, you can save a lot of money on expensive chimney restoration projects down the line.
Creosote/obstruction buildup in the flue
Wood-burning fireplaces cause the smoke byproduct creosote to form and build up on the inside of the chimney liner. Creosote is flammable and can easily ignite and start a chimney or house fire. Professional chimney sweeps certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America have the equipment and training to safely and thoroughly remove creosote and soot from your flue. Once-a-year cleaning is recommended.
If your chimney cap is severely damaged – or if you don’t have a cap at all – various debris can get into the flue and cause smoke-draft blockages. This debris includes leaves and twigs from nearby trees and small animals and their nests. One of a chimney sweep’s jobs is cleaning obstructions from your chimney to ensure smooth and efficient drafting of smoke and gasses.
When your chimney needs repair or proper cleaning, High’s Chimney Service of Gaithersburg, MD, is standing by to exceed your expectations. Whether it’s chimney sweep, chimney inspection, chimney repair or chimney rebuilding services, we’re ready to go to work. Call us at (301) 519-3500.