Masonry damage is never a good thing. During spring, heavy precipitation can penetrate the masonry. This enters the chimney system and causes extensive damage to working parts. In the summer, already humid air can penetrate your system. This causes extreme odors throughout the system. Throughout the fall and winter, moisture allowed to penetrate the chimney system is likely to cause the most damage.
Masonry is designed to be porous. This is so that it can allow vapors and heat to escape through the masonry itself, not just the top of the flue. However, if adequate measures aren’t taken to prevent water penetration, you may start winter with moisture in your system. When the temperature drops below freezing this water will freeze, expand, and damage your masonry. When the chimney warms, the water will thaw. It will then move further into the damaged masonry, only to freeze and expand again when it cools again. This freeze/thaw process is the most detrimental to your masonry.
Signs of Damage
Chipped, cracked, and crumbling masonry means there is a problem! When cracks and holes appear and mortar and brick begins to fall, you need to bring in a professional right away. This damage is called spalling. This can allow large amounts of water into the masonry, as well as cause damage to the roof. In addition, it can even risk injuring people as bricks fall from the chimney.
Prevention is Year-Round
- Preventing winter damage needs to start in the spring.
- Waterproofing keeps water out of your chimney year-round. Making sure your chimney cap, crown, and flashing are all in good condition and installed correctly is a step in the right direction. If you notice drips, rust, stains, or foul odors in your chimney or fireplace during the year, you have time to repair the problem before winter hits. Early detection is the best defense against damage.
- Schedule annual CSIA inspections. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends annual chimney inspections to maintain the highest level of safety and efficiency. There are three levels of inspection that fit every need. For instance, if you haven’t made a change to your system—or even used your chimney in the past year—you should still schedule an inspection, but a less thorough one. If a hazard is detected by your CSIA certified chimney sweep, he will schedule a more thorough inspection.
- Schedule chimney sweeps to lengthen the life of your flue liner and clean your entire system thoroughly. The creosote and other compounds that build up on your flue walls can deteriorate the liner over time, especially if mixed with moisture. Keeping the system clean means it works more efficiently, therefore it’s safer, and lasts longer.
Water and masonry don’t mix. Don’t wait until you have an expensive problem with your masonry to contact Brickliners about waterproofing services now. Call 802-872-0123 or request an appointment online today.