If you have a chimney in your home it is important to keep it well functioning to achieve maximum efficiency of your wood burning stove or gas fireplace as well as to defend against structural damage and house fires. There are a number of warning signs that your chimney may need repair by a certified chimney technician. Keating Contracting will perform a full inspection to discover the extent of the issue and fix it before it leads to additional problems, causing permanent damage to your home.
1. White staining on chimney exterior
This is known as “efflorescence” which means excessive moisture is getting into your masonry. If left undetected your chimney will quickly deteriorate and moisture will also damage walls, ceilings and floors.
2. Rusted damper or firebox
If your damper is not sealing properly or is more difficult than usual to operate, it may mean too much moisture is getting into your chimney. If the source is a cracked chimney crown it could cause the flue lining to begin to crack.
3. Stained wallpaper or ceiling
This is another indication that too much moisture is seeping into your chimney.
4. Cracked chimney crown
A cracked chimney crown is the leading cause of excess moisture in chimneys. The chimney crown protects your chimney and flue lining from outdoor elements. If not repaired it can cause shaling, spalling and deterioration to mortar joints.
5. Deteriorating mortar joints
When water thaws and freezes in cracks in the mortar it results in larger cracks that eventually break apart the joints. If your mortar joints are not repaired your chimney will eventually collapse.
6. Shaling flue liner
When a flue is healthy it protects your walls, ceilings, floors and roof from catching fire from sparks or heat from your chimney. As tiles and ceramic flue liners crack and flake over time (shaling), moisture can seep in causing damage. This adds to your risk of a house fire.
7. Galvanized metal chase tops
Galvanized metal chase tops seal the top of your chase but can eventually deteriorate so badly that they cannot be replaced. To avoid water from pooling they need to be cross broken with a drip. When chimney caps are not raised high enough from the chase cover, by-products of smoke and water vapor are let in causing rusting. This rust can lead to holes allowing water into your chase.
8. Spalling bricks
Spalling is caused when water seeps in to brick, natural stone or concrete. It pops out, flakes or peels off surface masonry. Chips or pieces of masonry around your chimney can be an indicator that spalling is occurring and can lead to a chimney crumbling.
9. Chimney fires
With continual use, your flue lining can crack from the excessive heat produced by your chimney fire and possibly lead to larger house fires.