The chimney is a tough one for the homeowner. You can’t see all the way up and you can’t see all the way down. Yet it is critical for your health and safety that you ensure your chimney and all of its components are in good operating condition.
Obviously regular inspections are the optimal method of ensuring your chimney is in good working order, but here are a few tips that can alert you to problems that should be addressed before your regular inspection is due.
Take a walk around your chimney and look for what is called efflorescence. This is a white residue on your brick or mortar. Though this can be removed, it is indicative of excess moisture in your chimney. If you don’t solve the cause of this moisture and leave it untreated, it will cause your chimney to dangerously deteriorate.
You can also look to see if there is crumbling mortar or loose bricks. Both of these conditions indicate that your chimney needs attention, and pronto. Left unattended, these problems will result in far more expensive repairs to both your chimney on the outside and your interior home. This is how moisture can get into your home.
Chimney leaks must be taken care of quickly. Aside from the damage to your chimney, they will also cause damage to the interior of your home. These leaks are caused cracks in the flue liner or times or crumbling mortar joints. You can easily discover if your chimney has leaks inside by examining the areas in your home that are immediately around your chimney. You should look for peeling wallpaper, stains on the wall, or dampness near your chimney. These are signs that moisture is entering your home.
Check your fireplace. Check the brickwork on the fireplace and check to see that the damper easily opens and closes. Look up the smoke chamber and check for any buildup that indicates it needs cleaning. Also check for any rust. This is a clear indicator of moisture problems from your chimney.