The primary function of a chimney is ventilation. There are many working parts that make this efficient and safe in your home. Damage to one or more of these parts is not uncommon and often goes unnoticed or overlooked.
Below we explore common chimney fails we find on the job and why they are important.
MISSING CHIMNEY CAPS AND CROWNS
Crowns protect your chimney from damage caused by water seeping into the bricks and mortar of your chimney structure. The protective cap sits on top of the crown and prevents other debris from entering your home.
Some indicators that it’s time to replace your chimney crown include if the crown is damaged or cracked, the chimney crown interferes with the flue liner resulting in poor air flow, or the crown is missing.
Creosote is a type of soot that forms in your chimney and creates a buildup when smoke doesn’t entirely escape. It starts off relatively easy to clean and remove but as it builds, it develops into a tar-like substance. It’s this thick degree of creosote that restricts air and minimizes the size of the air column that’s most likely to cause chimney fires. Additionally, chimney creosote can cause carbon monoxide to accumulate to unhealthy levels in your home.
A professional chimney sweep can resolve most creosote issues.
Flue lining refers to the protective layer installed inside a chimney to protect its walls from corrosion and heat. The liner contains the combustion products and directs them up and outside. When a chimney flue liner is damaged, it poses several risks. These include but are not limited to house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and improper airflow.
Another potential risk of flue deterioration is spalling (deterioration of brickwork). This happens because the liner protects the masonry from corrosive materials such as creosote. Spalling also occurs when moisture seeps into brickwork and cycles through freezing and thawing.
Chimney flashing ensures that the bonding between the chimney and roof is watertight. Substandard or damaged flashing can result in water intrusion, mold growth, rot, and damage to the masonry below the roof. When done properly, two panels of metal are installed around the area where the chimney meets the roof.
Flashing does need to be replaced periodically and installation can be tricky so we recommend you reach out to a professional roofer.
The 3-2-10 rule is the height standard for masonry chimneys. The main reason behind this rule is safety. It helps prevent accidents such as adjacent roofs catching fire if product that’s hot comes out of the chimney. The 3-2-10 rule also ensures optimal performance.
Some chimneys are so deteriorated or inadequately installed that they may need to be rebuilt. However, routine and diligent maintenance of your chimney is often much less expensive than replacing the entire system. It’s recommended to have your fireplaces and chimneys professionally cleaned and inspected each year.
Choosing a reputable professional you can trust to do the work is just as important as the work itself. Do your research, read reviews, and ask questions!