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.