While the summer season brings warmer temperatures and longer days, it also brings summer storms. Ranging in intensity from mild to severe, summer weather can affect a number of things outside your home – including the chimney.
The rains, high winds, lightning, hail, and other elements brought by summer storms can all have a damaging effect on your chimney system. While some damage is up to Mother Nature, it is possible to protect your chimney through regular maintenance and upkeep.
How Storms Cause Chimney Damage
Summer storms can be as mild as a light rain shower or as destructive as a tornado. No matter how intense, the weather caused by Mother Nature in the summer can damage your chimney system. The following are five ways that summer storms cause damage throughout the chimney and fireplace.
- Chimney crown damage
The chimney crown is the concrete slab that covers and seals the top of the chimney structure. The crown helps protect the chimney from moisture, debris, and animal entry into the chimney and flue. The if the crown is improperly constructed, was built using subpar materials, or has been previously damaged it is more prone to leaks and damage during severe weather.
- Flashing damage
Flashing seals the joint between the roofline and the chimney, preventing water from entering and damaging the surrounding masonry, roof, and building materials. The flashing can become damaged over time through regular wear and tear; high winds and flying debris can also cause flashing to lose its watertight seal.
- Chimney cap damage
The chimney cap sits on top of the chimney crown and covers the top of the flue. Designed to let smoke and hot air vent while preventing moisture, debris, and animals from getting into the chimney, chimney caps can be damaged – if not blown away entirely – during strong summer storms. Damage from high winds can cause the chimney cap to loosen; likewise, repeated heavy rains can cause areas of rust to form on the metal.
- Masonry leaks
Water can be one of the most damaging forces to your masonry chimney. Long-term exposure to moisture can cause decay and deterioration of the masonry; during the winter, damage caused by water absorbed during the summer worsens due to the freeze-thaw process. Having the chimney waterproofed with a special masonry sealer is one way to help prevent masonry leaks and water damage.
Preventing Summer Storm Damage
The best way to prevent damage to your fireplace and chimney during the summer – and throughout the rest of the year – is with regular maintenance. An annual chimney sweep keeps the flue clean and free from blockages while a regular chimney inspections ensures all chimney components are in good condition and have not been damaged.
Because it can be difficult to see most chimney components without climbing onto the roof itself, it is recommended to have a chimney inspection done after particularly severe storms. If a storm was bad enough that you are having the roof inspected, it is probably a good idea to have the chimney inspected as well. Doing this lowers the chance of long term damage to the chimney system and can get you back to enjoying your fireplace faster.
Don’t let summer storms affect your chimney this season. Call Coopertown Services today for more information on protecting your chimney from summer storms or to schedule your next chimney inspection.