With January just a few days behind us – and several more weeks of cold temperatures ahead – most of us are still too focused on this winter to even begin thinking about next year. However, its never too early to prepare for next winter!
The winter season is the most damaging to your fireplace and chimney; because of this, it is important that homeowners proactively prepare to protect their chimney system against winter weather damage. Below are a few ways that you can already start getting your fireplace ready for next winter.
Regular chimney inspections are an important part of ensuring that your fireplace and chimney are working properly and are undamaged. Because winter is the heaviest use periods for heating appliances, having a chimney inspection done before the weather gets cold can ensure your fireplace is safe and ready to use all season long.
Chimney inspections can also help identify any areas of water damage in your chimney. Moisture – whether it is from rain, ice, or snow – can cause damage to a number of different parts of your chimney system. Below are some of the areas most affected by moisture damage.
– Masonry: While bricks and mortar are built to withstand the elements, they can still be damaged by years of exposure to water. Whether it is snow, ice, rain, or even your sprinkler system, repeated exposure to water without preventative maintenance can lead to masonry damage and deterioration. The freeze thaw cycle can be particularly damaging to masonry; if masonry is damaged, it can absorb greater than normal amounts of water. As the temperatures drop, this water freezes and expands, damaging the brick further while creating progressively larger and larger holes.
– Chimney cap: The chimney cap protects your chimney and flue against water entry. Without a well-fitting and correctly installed chimney cap, moisture – as well as debris and animals – can easily enter and damage the chimney and flue.
– Chimney flashing: Chimney flashing – the watertight strip that seals the joint between the chimney and the roof – can easily be damaged in winter weather. Damaged flashing can do more than just hurt your chimney; because of its location, damaged flashing can also cause roof and ceiling leaks. Because of this, if you have a leak or water stain on the ceiling near your fireplace it is important to have the chimney and flashing checked along with the roof for signs of a leak.
Waterproofing preventative maintenance
In addition to having your chimney inspected at least once each year, there are several other preventative maintenance items that can help protect your chimney system against winter weather. One of the most effective is waterproofing.
Professional grade waterproofing products are specially designed to allow brick to retain its semi porous nature by keeping new water out while still allowing gasses and trapped moisture in the masonry to evaporate. Waterproofing your chimney is an excellent way to prevent moisture damage both during the winter months and throughout the rest of the year. Likewise, waterproofing can also help protect damaged masonry against further deterioration.
As this winter draws to a close, don’t forget about your chimney; take the steps now to ensure your fireplace and chimney are ready to use again next winter! Contact Coopertown Services today to learn more about preventative maintenance and preparing your fireplace system for winter.