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Keep Looking Up…at Your Chimney!

chimneu sweep hudson valley nyA beautiful fireplace is a pleasure to behold, especially when it is also providing heat from a roaring blaze on a cold winter day. The chimney may not have quite the same aesthetic value, but it’s an important component of the heating system. The smooth operation of your fireplace, stove, or furnace depends largely on the condition of the chimney system. It’s important to keep an eye on your chimney, for safety’s sake. Experts suggest that you look up at what’s happening on the rooftop and look inside the chimney lining, as well.

Check the Chimney Up Top

Many homeowners have made the costly mistake of neglecting chimney maintenance. The results of lack of maintenance can be extremely expensive needed repair costs and a hazardous out-of-control chimney fire. If you aren’t comfortable climbing on your roof, perhaps because it’s especially steep, you can count on professional chimney technicians to safely venture up top for you. There is a lot to check on, and an excellent pair of binoculars can’t give you the complete assessment needed.

The following are some of the potential problems to look for on the chimney:

  • The cement chimney crown that is at the top of many chimneys is an important component of the chimney system. The crown prevents water intrusion in the chimney system, unless cracks develop. When the chimney crown has deteriorated and isn’t doing its job, the chimney liner and the mortar inside and outside of the chimney can all become damaged.
  • Missing or cracked bricks are sure evidence that deterioration of your chimney is in progress. If the issue isn’t addressed, complete chimney failure is probable in the future. If missing or deteriorating mortar is caught early enough, it is often possible to do a partial rebuild or to resolve the issue with tuckpointing. With tuckpointing, weakened mortar is removed and new mortar is added. The process gives the chimney a like-new look and provides the system with fresh protection from moisture.
  • Most homeowners have had chimney caps installed. These are must-have appliances that keep moisture out and can also keep critters out of your chimney. Chimney caps have life spans, however, and can become broken, bent, or damaged by moisture. When a chimney cap is in a state of disrepair, birds and other animals may nest inside your chimney. Also, the spark guard on chimney cap may no longer do its intended job of preventing a fire on the roof.
  • The chimney flashing is the metal part of the chimney that is supposed to prevent moisture from penetrating where the roof and chimney connect. Flashing should be inspected routinely because when it begins to rust, serious water damage can occur, including structural damage to your roof.

Check the Chimney and Fireplace on the Inside

The condition of your chimney lining is a critical safety factor, and it also needs to be checked regularly. The lining protects combustible parts of your home from being exposed to the intense heat from the stove, fireplace, or furnace. If there are obstructions inside the chimney, the result could be a dangerous chimney fire or toxic fumes could possibly be pushed back inside your home, creating a potential health threat.

If shards of brick or pieces of the clay chimney liner fall into the fireplace, it is a clear indication that your chimney needs repair.

fireplace inspection nyA full inspection performed by certified chimney technicians will provide you with an accurate assessment of the condition of your chimney. Addressing problems early is always less expensive than waiting until the effects of damage are more widespread.

At Hudson Valley Chimney, we employ ethical, honest business practices. Unlike disreputable chimney companies, we never make false claims about needed repair. If you encounter a high-pressure chimney repair salesperson, call us for a second opinion. When we look up top and inside your chimney, you can count on an accurate report of our findings.

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