While chimneys are built to last, they are not immune to the elements. Because of this, most chimneys need regular maintenance in order to maintain their structural safety and stability.
Unfortunately, many homeowners only realize their chimneys need professional help after major damage has already occurred. To prevent this, homeowners should have an annual chimney inspection, which can help identify minor problems before they turn into major issues.
In addition to an annual inspection, it is important to be able to identify the signs of deterioration. The following are six of the most common signs that your chimney needs professional help.
Interior water damage
If you have noticed water staining on your walls or ceilings, don’t automatically blame the roof – the chimney may be the source of the leak. There are a number of causes of chimney leaks including damage or deterioration of the masonry, flashing, chimney cap, and more. If you are experiencing a leaky chimney, it is important to do more than just repair the interior water damage; without identifying and fixing the source of the leak, the water will just continue to come back and do more and more damage.
Rust on the interior or exterior of your chimney is the sign of potential water damage. If rust appears inside the firebox it most likely means that the damper is damaged or has lost its seal. Likewise, rust on the exterior of the chimney can be caused by damage to the chimney cap, the presence of other metals, or in the case of prefabricated chimneys a deteriorating chase cover.
Spalling occurs when damaged bricks or masonry begin to crack, chip, or fall away from the chimney structure. Often the result of long term moisture exposure and damage to the masonry, spalling can cause dangerous structural damage to the chimney.
While a stinky chimney can create an unpleasant odor in your home, it also indicates a number of other chimney issues. There are a number of causes of chimney odor. Some of the most common include excessive creosote buildup, animal entry, or the presence of water in the flue. Oftentimes, chimney odors get worse during the hot and humid summer months, even to the point of affecting the air quality or making homes unlivable.
Efflorescence is better known as the white buildup that occurs on older brick structures such as chimneys. While the efflorescence can be easily removed, doing this does not solve the underlying issues that cause it to occur.
Damaged mortar joints
Damaged mortar joints can impact the structural stability of the chimney structure. Mortar deteriorates at a far faster rate than bricks; because of this, your mortar joints will often need to be repaired long before the surrounding brick is damaged. However, if the mortar joints are damaged the surrounding brick will typically deteriorate at a faster rate.
Our chimneys are built to last, but they need to be maintained in order to stand the test of time. If your chimney is in need of some professional TLC, contact Coopertown Services today to schedule a chimney sweeping, inspection, or repair.