Chimney Blog January 2016

Chimney Flashing

Posted On: January 27, 2016

In the wake of the recent Northeast snowstorm, now is the perfect time to have a professional inspection of your chimney flashing. Water seeping through this location is fairly common in the chimney industry.

As we all know, water that leaks into your home can cause considerable and costly damage. In the winter, the snow will eventually melt and if there is poor sealing around the area of the chimney above the roof, leaks through the roof and into the ceilings of your house will occur.

The area around the chimney at the rooftop is protected with metal strips called the “flashing.” Without context, this word may suggest something entirely different, but in this case the flashing is sheet metal that wraps around the chimney at the base of the rooftop. There are two layers: the step flashing and the counter flashing. The step pieces are L-shape metal segments, while the counter layer is put into mortar joints and folds over the step layer.

Even if all of the flashing appears to be already in place, a perfect seal is not guaranteed. Over time, small entry points for water can form. This is when caulk is required to fill in the cracks. Ask your chimney expert about the flashing when it’s time for an inspection.


Winter and Your Chimney

Posted On: January 13, 2016

We’ve certainly had an interesting winter this year and it isn’t over yet. You’re probably enjoying your fireplace and if you were smart, you had your fireplace and chimney inspected by professionals before the winter season arrived. But what many people don’t realize is that throughout the winter, particularly if there are heavy snows, below freezing temperatures or temperature swings, you have to watch your chimney.

Your chimney stands proudly like a soldier, rising out of your roof and funneling smoke to the outside. What you probably don’t consider is the effect your weather can have on your chimney and ultimately, the safety of your home.

When the winter weather comes, and snow builds up on your roof, you should always take some time to look up at that grand chimney and give it a good once over. But what do you look for, you may ask? Here’s the answer.

If there has been snow and temperatures have remained cold enough for that snow to remain on your roof, make sure that it isn’t blocking your chimney. A chimney blocked by snow can cause carbon monoxide to build up in your home when you light that roaring fire. Just because the smoke isn’t billowing into your living room doesn’t mean that there isn’t some blockage that can cause you a problem. If you suspect that the chimney isn’t completely free of snow, please call a professional to check it out.

One way to help protect your chimney from any kind of blockage, whether it’s birds, leaves or snow, is to have a chimney cap installed. These little devices work wonders to help keep your chimney free of debris that could otherwise cause costly repairs. Remember that a blocked chimney can also affect your home’s heating supply, and not in a good way.

If you had a fair amount of snow, or if the temperatures remained at freezing for some time, remember that your chimney is constructed of brick and mortar that expands and contracts with the weather. Pay close attention to your chimney’s structure and call a professional if you suspect that damage may have occurred.

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Starting The Year Off Right - Chimney Information

Posted On: January 04, 2016

Most people don’t think about it, but your chimney takes a beating in the winter. It gives the impression that it is so strong and can withstand anything while providing you with the ability to enjoy your fireplace when the winter winds come swirling around your house. But you must remember that your chimney is made of the same substance as other parts of your house. Just as you wouldn’t let your foundation crumble, you also don’t want to watch your chimney crumble.

Your chimney and all of its parts are made of brick, mortar, concrete, steel and cast iron. All of these substances are exposed to, and affected by, the weather. Freeze and thaw conditions cause the mortar and cement in your chimney to expand and contract and can cause gaps and holes much as they do the city sidewalks.

When these gaps appear, small though they might be, they allow moisture to enter your chimney. The moisture can further deteriorate the mortar and can enter the inside of your chimney as well. When water seeps into the mortar, not only does it cause it to crumble, but it can degrade the bricks as well. Once it seeps through and works its way inside your chimney, the metal and iron then become vulnerable. If you don’t take care of these issues you can find yourself with a host of other problems.

When moisture gets into your chimney it can cause deterioration of your firebox and can clog the clean-out area. You could find yourself with a damper that begins to rust and if it isn’t taken care of, it could very well ruin next year’s winter by the fire. You could also develop cracks in the flue lining which will cause more damage to your chimney. A badly damaged chimney can start to tilt or lean and that is not only dangerous, but ruins the whole look of your house.

A good idea is to start the year out right. Have a professional give your chimney a good once over. They can spot and fix problems before they cause you to need a major overhaul.