Water-related issues can bring on a long list of stressors for chimney owners. Excess moisture causes bricks to crumble, wood to rot, metal to rust, and clogs to form, and the longer these problems continue, the worse they will get. Because of this, regularly investing in waterproofing services, as well as masonry repairs and replacement parts, is essential when it comes to keeping things functioning safer and more efficiently year after year.
Now, the best way to prevent bigger problems from occurring is to invest in an annual inspection before the start of your burning season. This way your CSIA certified sweep can get a thorough look at any potential problems and stop them well before they get worse. Here in the Carolinas, we tend to experience around 40 freeze/thaw cycles every year, so having water damages taken care of before cold weather sets in is a must!
Yet, many ask if there’s anything they, as homeowners, can keep an eye out for, as well. Here are some things you can watch out for if you’re worried about your system breaking down.
1. Discoloration Throughout the Structure
One thing that clearly indicates water issues is discoloration throughout the chimney. If you see a lot of white, for example, this is called efflorescence, and it’s a clear sign of a water problem. Essentially, the moisture your masonry is exposed to is causing soluble solutions to draw out of your brickwork. Once these evaporate, you’re left with a layer of salt that makes your structure look white.
You’ll also want to look for anything green. Vegetation growth around the chimney indicates there is water contained somewhere, and the longer it sits unattended, the more damage you’ll end up with.
In the end, white, green, black, brown, and basically any color that doesn’t match with your brickwork indicates a bigger issue is at hand. Remember – any signs of moisture on the outside means that there is damage occurring on the inside. Your bricks are like a sponge, and if left unprotected they will quickly soak up any moisture they are exposed to.
Call us in, so that we can powerwash any discoloration away from your chimney, then apply our vapor-permeable, long-lasting water repellents. Our products are tough, ensuring no water can get in, while still being flexible enough to let any pre-absorbed moisture escape. The combination of these two qualities is essential when it comes to keeping your system standing strong for the long haul!
2. Water Drips in Your Firebox
Is there water in your firebox? A pool of water on the floor of your fireplace can be a cause for immediate concern, and you’ll definitely want to get a qualified sweep on the case as quickly as you can. That being said, there are a few questions you can consider while you wait on a professional opinion.
The first is whether or not you have a chimney cap. A chimney cap covers the opening of your flue, so that water (as well as animals, outside debris, nesting materials, and more) can’t enter your chimney and cause damage. If you see water coming in through your chimney, there’s a good chance your cap is either damaged or missing altogether, in which case you’ll need a new one installed, and stat!
But the chimney cap can’t work alone… It’s also vital that your flashing is in good shape. Flashing consists of the metal pieces that seal the area where your roof and chimney meet. If it’s bent, rusted, or poorly installed, water could easily work its way past it and enter your home, thus resulting in puddles in your firebox.
Finally, consider that the top of your crown or splay might be damaged. If cracking or crumbling has occurred, it could be that your structure wasn’t built from appropriate materials or maybe it experienced storm damage. Regardless, having a sweep look things over and provide the necessary services to get it functioning well again is vital to the overall health of your system.
3. Wet/Damaged Drywall
Is your drywall looking rough around the edges? If it is damaged or damp in any way, then it’s likely that your flashing is to blame. There are some other potential causes, but the majority of the time, it’s discovered that the flashing is somehow damaged or misplaced, and your drywall is thus forced to suffer the consequences.
If your flashing needs to be repainted, recaulked, replaced, or resealed, we’re the team to trust.
Why trust a chimney company and not a roofing one? It’s simple. – we’re certified chimney specialists and they’re not. Just like you wouldn’t call a sweep to do a roofing job, a roofer shouldn’t be hired to take on things related to the chimney. In fact, most roofers don’t want to deal with any aspects of the chimney and will refer the work to a qualified sweep!
We know everything there is to know about fixing up your flashing, and if you need a cricket we can do that, too. When you entrust your chimney to us, you can get the care and added protection you deserve.
Ready to get started? With cooler temperatures upon us, there’s no time to lose. Reach out today!