Having a working fireplace is a wonderful luxury providing heat, comfort, and a cozy atmosphere to your home. But fireplaces and chimneys can become fire hazards if they aren’t properly maintained. Many homeowners are quick to have repairs done if there’s a problem with their fireplace because it’s easy to see. However, proper chimney care and rehabilitation are also essential, particularly if you use your fireplace regularly. Watch for these signs that your chimney needs repair to prevent potential fires.
If you see flaking or loosening of the mortar joints between the bricks or stones of your chimney, repairs need to be done sooner rather than later to prevent further damage. If not, the masonry is at the mercy of rain, wind, snow, and other problems that can quickly lead to the chimney falling over or more water leaking into the chimney’s interior. If moisture freezes and thaws within the bricks, the damage will increase rapidly, causing complete collapse. It can be difficult to spot damaged mortar from on the ground, so take the time to go on your roof or hire a professional chimney inspector at least once a year.
Damaged Chimney Crown
The chimney’s crown protects the rest of it from the elements when it’s in good condition. However, even the crown deteriorates over time, leading to cracks that allow moisture to get to the bricks and mortar, causing widespread damage over time. Water draining into the chimney’s interior will also lead to severe damage. Like other chimney problems, damage to the crown should be repaired by experts like those at Brickworks Property Restoration, who have years of experience repairing worn chimneys and crowns.
White stains or discoloration on your chimney (sometimes called efflorescence) is a sign of too much moisture in the masonry or bricks of the chimney. You can wash off the stains, but the white marks will soon return if you don’t address the issue. The excess moisture in the bricks and mortar causes the chimney to deteriorate more rapidly. Getting the moisture taken care of is essential to the long life of the chimney.
Any time you see slices or chips of chimney masonry or tiles falling into the fireplace, you can assume the flue (the chimney’s lining) is compromised. Damage to the flue can result in a chimney fire.
Rusted Damper or Firebox
If your fireplace box or the damper has rusted, moisture collects inside the chimney, dripping down onto these areas. If you can’t see the damper, test it to see if it’s hard to operate or isn’t sealing correctly, both of which can be attributed to rust damage. There is often severe, underlying damage to the chimney liner by the time you notice rust.
If you see any of these signs of chimney damage, contact a professional masonry restoration company and get the repairs needed before using your fireplace. To ensure you don’t miss the early signs of a problem, have your chimney inspected by a professional every year.