Most people think that a masonry chimney is indestructible, maintenance free. In fact, that is not the case. There are a lot of ways where a brick/masonry chimney can be damaged, especially with little care (little to no chimney repair and maintenance). Here are some of the causes of a damaged chimney.
- Heat penetration, lightning strikes
- Aging factor and weather damage (rain, sun, snow…)
- Settling of the foundation
- Improper construction and poor maintenance
Appropriate operation, chimney repair and maintenance is required to prevent fire, leaks, and to extend the life of your chimney.
- be sure to fully open the damper before you light up the fire
- burn just enough fire at a time, avoid over-crowded firebox, this will restrict, or limit air movement
- use dry wood
- Use a grate when burning wood, this creates air flow, which makes burning wood easier.
Maintenance:(Check our Service page for chimney repair services)
From top down
- Rain cap/ Chimney pot: a chimney without a cap is like a house without a roof. Having a cap will prevent water, downdraft from getting inside your flue then down to the firebox, keeping it dry and maintaining regular temperature. Make sure your cap has wire mesh to keep animals out, as well as arresting fire sparks from shooting out onto your roof.
- Top damper- Having a rain cap alone will not prevent rain from getting in 100%. wind direction can blow some rains in, so to have a top damper it can help stop water from coming in, and prevent heat from escaping your house.
- Chimney crown- is just a layer of concrete cement below the cap. Water can and will penetrate this layer, in time it will deteriorate. This layer will need a coat of sealer, to seal those tiny holes, cracks, and keep them dry.
- Mortar Joints is like your crown. Any cracks will need to be filled and apply sealant.
- Counter flashing (chimney flashing) is whats keeping water from penetrating the point where your roof joins with the chimney. Its important that they are in good shape, leak free, caulking and mortar are filled with the right quantity, at the right place.
- Flue line, smoke chamber needs a sweeping once a year
- Firebox mortar joint needs to be filled and crack free.
- Fireplace screen to prevent sparks from shooting out onto your carpet or nearby combustible materials