Winter weather is harsh on chimneys- especially in areas of Pennsylvania where there is usually no shortage of snow. Freezing and the eventual thawing can have adverse affects on the structure of a chimney. This can lead to problems that could start a fire. That makes spring the perfect time for an annual chimney inspection to assess the damage.
Moisture is not a friend to any chimney, and prolonged contact with snow can quickly speed up the deterioration of the chimney’s structure. Moisture causes the mortar joints to erode as water seeps inside them, and causes brick and mortar to crack. Also, when moisture seeps into the chimney it can cause:
- The chimney exterior to become stained.
- The chimney structure can become tilted or eventually collapse.
- Metal firebox and masonry assemblies can deteriorate.
- Walls inside the home can become stained.
- A bad odor to creep into the home.The chimney liner to deteriorate.
Solutions to Moisture Damage
Install a Chimney Cap
Probably the least expensive way to deal with moisture is by installing a chimney cap. An easy fix to a big problem, they simply keep water from entering the chimney. Chimney caps have multi-purposes since they also keep animals out of your chimney and help to stop hot sparks from flying out of the chimney.
Homes with steep roofs can unintentionally cause damage to a chimney by causing water to run-off and dart directly for it. A cricket is a ridge structure that will divert the water from one side of the chimney to the other.
Damage that has accrued on your chimney during the winter can be discovered during a chimney inspection. An inspection can determine if there is any need for repairs to be made, which is important to discover before using your fireplace again next winter.
Resources: Chimney Solutions, Smoke Signals