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How Summer Storms Can Affect Your Chimney

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 DamageHow Summer Storms Can Affect Your Chimney Image - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

By Christina Robinson on July 7th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Is Your Flashing In Good Condition?

Flashing is commonly used around our homes. Whether its sealing around leaking windows or drafty doors, flashing keeps outside air and the elements out of our homes. Our chimneys also have flashing. Therefore, it is important that you have reliable flashing that can protect your chimney and roof for years to come.

Is Your Flashing In Good Condition - Memphis TN - Coopertown ServicesWhat is flashing?

Chimney flashing is created when strips of metal are layered with waterproof barriers such as caulk. Located on the joint where the roof line meets the masonry of the chimney, flashing creates an important watertight seal. This seal protects your masonry, roof, attics, and ceilings from water damage.

How flashing is damaged

Whether it is because of the elements, animals, or improper installation, there are a number of ways that flashing can lose its watertight seal. The following are just a few of the common causes of flashing damage.

  • Animal entry: Aggressive animals – especially raccoons – seeking to get into your attic or chimney can bite, scratch, or claw at flashing and pull it apart.
  • Overexposure: If one side of a roof or chimney is harder hit with sun or wind, this overexposure can damage the flashing.
  • Weather or storms: Extreme weather conditions caused by storms including flying debris, high winds, lightning, or ice and snow can affect flashing.
  • Settling: As a house settles over time, small shifts can cause the flashing to twist or shift.
  • Changes to the roof: If you have had your roof repaired or replaced, the flashing may need to be replaced as well; the watertight seal can be broken if shingles or tiles are the chimney structure are affected.
  • Incorrect installation: Using poor quality materials or installing flashing wrong, including using too few layers or adding too many nail holes, can all affect its watertight seal.

Is my roof leaking – or is it flashing?

It can be difficult to differentiate between leaking flashing and a leaking roof. This is because both appear in similar areas of the roof and attic. If you see water on the walls or ceilings near your chimney, consider calling a chimney sweep before a roofer. This is especially important if you have any of the risk factors for chimney flashing damage listed above.

Having your flashing inspected may be a less expensive option. This is especially true when compared to the cost of a roof repair or replacement. Even if your roof has been recently worked on, a chimney inspection may be important. Having the flashing checked after changes to the roof line can ensure the watertight seal is still in place.

Flashing protects your masonry and your chimney against water. In addition, it also protects your roof, ceilings, walls, and other building materials. Because of this, it is important that flashing has a consistent watertight seal with no gaps, holes, or damage. For more information about the importance of flashing, or to have your flashing inspected or repaired, contact Coopertown Services today!

By Christina Robinson on November 23rd, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Common Replacements for Chimney Parts

Worried that your chimney might soon fall apart bit by bit? Call Coopertown Services and we'll replace those worn down chimney parts in a jiffy.

Worried that your chimney might soon fall apart bit by bit? Call Coopertown Services and we’ll replace those worn down chimney parts in a jiffy.

One of the things Coopertown Services does most often for our customers—outside of chimney inspections and sweepings—is updating and replacing parts on chimneys, fireplaces, and stoves around the Memphis, Tennessee, area. When it comes to replacement parts, we are most often asked to replace one of the four following things:

  • Chimney liners
  • Chimney caps
  • Dampers
  • Flashing

We won’t immediately suggest a replacement part if we think that your existing part can be repaired, as we are also happy to take on repairs. An inspection by one of our Chimney Institute of America certified technicians will allow us to determine whether a replacement part is needed. Below you’ll find information about the four parts we most often replace and why they commonly need to be replaced.

Replacement Chimney Liners

Chimneys didn’t used to be lined. But when tests by the National Bureau of Standards over the past 50 years proved how very dangerous unlined chimneys are, most fire codes began to mandate that all chimneys be lined. The job of a liner is first and foremost to protect your chimney from catching fire, when in turn protects your home from catching fire. Even when a chimney fire does break out, a liner in good condition will be able to contain the fire within the chimney.

Though there are three types of liners—clay tiles, metal, and cast-in place—we typically recommend stainless steel liners because they’re versatile, durable, and can also help resize your chimney flue for improved draft, if necessary. According to the C.S.I.A., “Stainless steel is suitable for woodburning, gas, or oil applications … It is usually required that high temperature insulation be used in conjunction with the liners for safety and performance considerations.” If you’re interested in having your chimney flue relined, reach out to us today. In addition to all-new liners, we offer HeatShield Flue Liner Repair, which depending on the extent of the damage to your liner, may enable us to restore your existing liner at a minimum cost.

Replacement Chimney Caps

It’s imperative to have a chimney cap in great condition, as chimney caps do the important job of keeping rainwater, debris, and animals out of your chimney—thereby extending the life of your chimney and keeping fire hazards out. We have a wealth of information about chimney caps on our website, as well as a photo gallery of our available caps in both factory and custom sizes, in a variety of finishes and styles, and for single and multi-flu chimneys. We find that our customers generally enjoy selecting a chimney cap because it’s one of the more “fun” chimney purchases because it can enhance the exterior look of your home.

Replacement Chimney Dampers

Chimneys used to be equipped with throat dampers (located just above the firebox), but now modern chimneys use top-sealing dampers (located at the very top of the chimney) in lieu of throat dampers. For that reason, the majority of the chimney part replacements we do involve removing outdated throat dampers and replacing them with top-sealing dampers. These state-of-the-art dampers will protect your home against the elements as well as dramatically improving your home’s energy efficiency. Dampers are designed to be opened by the homeowner when a fire is lit and closed when the fire has completely died. Equipped with a silicone gasket, top-sealing dampers are very effective at saving homeowners money and protecting chimneys. Find our more about chimney dampers here.

Replacement Chimney Flashing

Chimney flashing, which is the metal banding that joins the chimney at the roofline to make it watertight, is prone to rust and show wear and tear over the years. This can lead to chimney leaks, which can cause damage not only to your chimney but to the surrounding areas of your home as well. If your chimney flashing is rusting or gaping, it’s likely because it wasn’t installed by a professional or because the wrong material was used. We will be able to custom fit flashing to help waterproof and protect your chimney and make it last for years to come.

If you live in or around Memphis and suspect that your chimney needs some repair work, schedule a chimney inspection with Coopertown Services today. Reach us at 901-358-7777.

By Christina Robinson on February 13th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Leave a Comment