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4 Common Exterior & Interior chimney Problems

masonry chimney repairAs with any structure or component within your home, chimneys need periodic service, maintenance and repair to keep them safe and operating correctly. Here are four common interior and exterior issues with chimneys and how they should be addressed.

Damaged masonry

A chimney is safe only when its bricks are in good shape. When the bricks and mortar that form the chimney’s masonry are damaged, big trouble could be right around the corner.

Bricks can begin to loosen, and mortar can show signs of cracking for several reasons including:

  • Old age
  • House-settling
  • Lightning strikes or pounding hail
  • A chimney fire
  • Extreme weather temperatures solving masonry problems starts with a chimney inspection by a certified chimney technician. The inspection will determine why the damage exists, exactly where the damage is located and what is needed to fix it.

Cracked chimney crown

The chimney crown is the cement covering at the top of the chimney that covers everything except the flue opening. The purpose of the crown is to add stability and to block water from getting to the bricks and down into the chimney.

Cracks in the chimney crown can be caused by many of the occurrences outlined above in the section on damaged masonry. If ignored, damaged crowns can crack to the point that water can easily seep into the bricks and start another cycle of decay. In some cases, cracks can be filled or sealed; if severe damage is present, the crown may need to be rebuilt.Fixing Damage Chimney Crowns

Damaged flashing

A certified chimney inspector always pays close attention to the flashing, which seals off the gap between the chimney and the roof. The last thing you want is for water from rain or melting snow to get into this gap, because it can create huge damage to sections of the masonry beneath the roof as well as parts of the home.

It may be possible to straighten warped flashing, but if warping is severe or if the component has begun to rust, the best move is to install new flashing.

Excess creosote/blockages

Chimneys connected to wood-burning appliances are subject to buildups of creosote, a sticky or flakey substance that is formed when a wood fire burns. Creosote is highly flammable and is the cause of most chimney fires each year in the U.S.

Professional chimney sweep service is the best and safest way to clean creosote from a chimney. Chimney sweeps also remove blockages such as the nests of small animals, small animals that have died in the chimney, leaves and twigs from nearby trees and other debris.

Everything added to the inside of the flue will gradually begin to hamper the drafting of smoke. When this happens, many different toxins including deadly carbon monoxide can back up into the house.

Keeping your chimney clean and safe is a job for professionals. You should never trust chimney cleaning, chimney repair or chimney inspection to individuals who aren’t certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America or a local equivalent certifying body. By hiring experts for chimney service, you’ll effectively address interior and exterior chimney problems and keep your home and family safe all year long.

Is it time to have your chimney inspected or cleaned? Hudson Valley Chimney of Poughkeepsie, NY, is standing by to help. For service and workmanship you can count on, call (845) 471-1071.


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