As part of your home’s structure, a damaged chimney could lead to some serious and costly problems if chimney repair is neglected. Chimney problems are not always detectable to the untrained eye, but below we have outlined some specific signs you can look for in terms of chimney repair needs that will help you know if it’s time to call the professionals.
- Rusty Firebox or Damper
Rust in the firebox or a rusted damper indicates that moisture has infiltrated deeper into the chimney. If you notice rusting, there is underlying deterioration that needs to be repaired right away. A cracked or deteriorated flue lining is highly dangerous, as it could allow too much heat into vulnerable areas and cause a house fire. During a routine chimney sweep, your local professional will be able to properly examine the condition of your firebox and damper to make sure the level of rust isn’t nearing anything that could cause you to burn in unsafe conditions.
- Damaged Mortar Joints
Mortar joints are something that can be picked up on easily when your annual chimney cleaning is performed. If the mortar joints are cracked or in bad condition, moisture will gradually lead to the whole chimney deteriorating and a cause for a more significant chimney repair project. When water gets into small cracks in the masonry, they can turn into large cracks, particularly as a result of more severe during winter snows when the bricks go through repeated freezing and thawing. The structure can eventually collapse if you don’t plan for any chimney repairs.If you notice the mortar is breaking or if the bricks themselves are crumbling, call for fireplace and chimney repair help. You wouldn’t want that structural integrity of your chimney to be compromised.
- Damaged Chimney Crown
The chimney crown serves as the first line of defense against outdoor elements and protects the structure from harsh weather and moisture. If the material is cracking, water can penetrate and lead to severe breakage. Moisture can also move into the chimney and liner which causes significant damage, including larger cracks. It is highly important for the crown to be in good condition, as a damaged chimney crown allows moisture to seep between the chimney and the liner as well as into the chimney.
- Flue Damage
The condition of the flue liner in your chimney is a critical safety issue. One of the most important reasons chimney experts recommend annual chimney cleaning and inspections is to ensure that the liner is doing the job of protecting combustibles from extremely hot temperatures. Well-built chimneys that aren’t subjected to excess amounts of moisture are highly durable on the exterior. There are, however, many different factors that frequently cause the chimney liners to deteriorate much more quickly, requiring chimney repair or replacement. It can be difficult to assess the state of your chimney flue, but when performing a chimney sweep, a certified professional should inspect every inch of your flue with a camera.
- Ceiling and Wall Stains
Your chimney itself is not the only area where you might see damage. If you notice any staining or discoloration on the walls or ceiling around your fireplace and chimney, there is a good chance that the discoloration you’re seeing is due to moisture getting into your chimney and gradually seeping into your home. Over time, this can be very damaging, especially if the water damage reaches the framing of your home and begins to rot it out. The walls should be smooth, dry, and mold free. Moisture getting into your home through the chimney can also lead to mold and mildew problems that can hide behind walls, so be sure to have your home checked for these issues. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
The good news it, Homeowner’s Insurance will usually cover any damage that occurs as a result of a sudden, unexpected incident. To determine if you can claim the damage on your chimney, you must understand how your insurance policy offers coverage. Click HERE to learn more.
A regular chimney sweep and chimney cleaning is the best way to catch and fix any smaller issues before they become larger ones. Our customer care team is available to talk through your questions, and schedule a time for one of our certified Outfitters to come out and take a look at your fireplace and chimney. Give us a call at 317-500-1250 or visit www.cmoutfitters.com.