Chimney Repair: What it Means, Why it’s Important
Timely chimney repairs make all the difference between a chimney that does its job and presents you with no headaches and one that doesn’t work right and may be dangerous. This is why it’s recommended by leading hearth industry agencies and service providers that you have your chimney inspected once a year in order to spot early signs of damage and malfunction. “Chimney repair” covers many tasks, all of which may periodically be necessary to keep your chimney in top shape. Here are some common chimney repair jobs and why they’re important.
The cement crown at the top of the chimney covers everything except the flue opening(s). When cracks begin, they usually worsen until water can get in, freeze, expand and cause significant damage.
A damaged chimney crown provides an open path for water to begin decaying bricks below it and to flow into the flue, where it can lead to liner and interior masonry deterioration.
Tuckpointing (masonry repair)
Bricks and mortar of older chimneys or ones that were built with inferior materials often fall into disrepair because of extreme weather events, earthquakes, house-settling and plain old age. A process called tuckpointing fills in missing areas of masonry to secure the bricks and restore strength to the chimney. Bricks also can be replaced as needed.
When there is a breach within the masonry, water can seep in and end up causing serious damage, as described above with chimney crowns. A chimney in a state of decay may begin to lean to one side or collapse completely.
Chimney sweep (cleaning)
While we don’t usually think of chimney cleaning as repair work, it’s definitely a preventative measure against chimney fires and damage to the chimney liner and interior masonry.
When wood fires burn, an acidic substance known as creosote is formed and starts clinging to the chimney liner. If left in place, creosote can eat away at the liner and eventually the bricks and mortar behind it. Of even greater concern is a chimney fire. Creosote is highly flammable and is the cause of most chimney fires in the U.S. each year.
Other reasons chimney repair is needed
Damaged chimney cap or flue cover: A flue cover protects the flue from water and debris. A full-width cap also protects the chimney crown.
Damaged or missing roof flashing: Flashing prevents water from running down into the home through the gap between the roof and the chimney.
Problems with the smoke chamber: A process called parking smooths out the surfaces to make drafting more efficient.
Damper problems: Dampers that won’t fully open or close can be the result of rusting from a chimney leak or old age.
Leaky chimney: A chimney leak can end up causing widespread damage throughout the chimney system. Leaks should be pinpointed and fixed as soon as they’re noticed.
Certified chimney inspections
An annual chimney inspection will and often can perform the necessary repairs on the spot. Don’t let your chimney keep running if it needs professional attention. Hudson Valley Chimney of Poughkeepsie, NY, provides certified chimney inspection, repair and chimney sweep services to ensure that your chimney and fireplace system are working right and providing comfort and safety all year long. Call us at (845) 471-1071.