People pay little attention to their chimney. It’s just there all the time, looking sturdy and strong. But chimneys can have problems that aren’t readily noticeable and unless you look or have an annual inspection by a professional, you won’t know there’s a problem until it affects something you do notice. Hopefully you’ll notice before it causes damage or smokes you out of your living room.
What Kind of Problems Can Chimneys Have?
It’s important to remember that your chimney is exposed to the worst of the elements. It sits above your house with nothing to protect it from wind, rain, snow or ice. These elements affect chimneys like they do anything else, they wear away mortar and brick and can wreak havoc with the flashing. Any of these problems can weaken your chimney or cause cracks that can lead to leaks that damage your home on the inside.
Chimneys can also have creosote build-up from using your fireplace and not having it cleaned regularly. This build-up can cause serious ventilation problems and can even cause fires inside your chimney. Other problems inside your chimney can be animal nests, dirt and debris, broken chimney bricks or mortar; especially if you don’t have a chimney cap. These elements can cause blockages that can lead to fires or can lead to carbon monoxide or smoke billowing into your living room.
If your chimney has cracks or mortar degradation, and it goes unattended, it is only a question of time before you will need some serious work done on your chimney. If you don’t end up needing it replaced entirely.
So What Else Can Happen?
If you don’t take care of your chimney you put your whole house at risk. Chimney fires are devastating and very thorough. Remember the chimney runs through every floor of your house. If your mortar is degraded water can leak in and the bigger problem is that it can damage the ceilings and walls of rooms near the chimney. A chimney in disrepair can cause extensive damage to your home, which is typically one of your biggest investments.
An annual chimney inspection can prevent any of this and will cost you far less than the price you’ll pay if you neglect it.