Spring isn’t just an ideal time for spring cleaning. It’s also a great time to complete your chimney checklist to ensure the safety and efficiency of your chimney system. As the saying goes April showers bring May flowers, and if your spring showers have caused you some chimney worries, you might have a leak, and a leak is a big deal.
It is important to call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) as soon as you suspect a chimney leak. By the time a homeowner notices signs of a chimney leak, it’s likely that it’s caused substantial unseen damage.
Some Signs of a Chimney Leak
1. Water stained walls and ceiling
2. Clogged clean-out area
3. Rusted parts
4. Dripping in fireplace
5. Fowl smelling chimney and fireplace
6. Stained Chimney
By the time these problems are noticed by the homeowner, the damage has been done. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) water can cause much more extensive damage that can be detected by a professional during a cleaning or inspection.
Why Hire a Professional
A general contractor or roofer is not the right professional to make this diagnosis. Calling a certified chimney sweep insures homeowners that the job will be thorough, and damage will be detected and repaired in a timely and professional manner. When water penetrates your masonry chimney it causes damage such as: deteriorated firebox, decayed mortar, cracked or damaged flue lining, collapsed hearth support, tilting or collapsed chimney structure, and chimney settlement.
Not only will a professional chimney sweep inspect and diagnose your chimney problems, but should offer the homeowner a detailed report and repair plan.
At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, serving Boston, North Shore, and Portland area, we don’t only repair the damage, but trace the leak back to the source, and offer waterproofing services.
Waterproofing Your Chimney
Another reason to hire a professional chimney sweep is because prevention is cheaper than making repairs! At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweeps we apply a waterproof product on masonry chimneys that is created specially for chimneys to keep water out, but allows vapors to escape. We even offer FREE Waterproofing on exterior masonry repair.
Other Chimney Leak Prevention
While discussing your leaky chimney with a professional, don’t forget to mention these other preventative measures:
- chimney cap repair or replacement
- damper repair or replacement
- chimney crown inspection and repair
While planning your spring cleaning, do not neglect your chimney. Your annual chimney inspection is a great time to discuss waterproofing and leak prevention with a certified chimney sweep. A Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep is waiting for your call today.
Water penetration can cause some serious issues with your masonry and the working parts of your chimney. Among other things water in your chimney can cause flaking and crumbling of bricks and mortar called spalling. Spalling can lead to a host of problems and should be recognized and repaired before more damage occurs.
Signs of Spalling
The most obvious and common sign of spalling is flaking and crumbling bricks. It can be as minor as flakes of brick falling onto the roof, and as serious as whole bricks falling onto the ground from the top of the chimney. This is an obvious insurance risk aside from the chimney’s use and efficiency because the bricks can cause injury if they fall onto someone. You can sometimes tell there is a problem by cracking, discoloration, or chipping of the mortar between the bricks, but the easiest way to catch water penetration before it becomes a problem is to follow-through with regular preventative maintenance for your chimney system.
Chimney Sweeps and Inspections
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend annual inspections of the chimney system as well as regular chimney sweeps to keep your chimney clean. Only a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) has the experience and expertise to notice the problems before they become a problem. By the time the average homeowner notices signs of a leaky chimney, there is extensive unseen damage. The easiest way to avoid the extra cost and headache is to remember these appointments.
When brick and mortar becomes damaged and crumbly and an expert catches the problem, he can remove the mortar and replace it with new mortar of equal strength and color-matched to the existing masonry. Only a professional with experience and training can properly match new and old mortar correctly. If they are matched improperly the integrity of the masonry is compromised and the repair will not last. You can count on Black Moose Chimney and Stove to get it done right the first time. This is a structural repair as much as cosmetic, and your money will bring you back to the safe, efficient, and beautiful chimney of your dreams.
The easiest way to preserve your dream chimney and to prevent water damage like spalling is to waterproof your chimney. This means installing, repairing, or replacing chimney caps, chimney crowns, and flashing. These three things are not optional. They are designed to keep water out of your chimney, and will only work when installed and maintained properly. This saves the homeowner money, while preventing water damage.
There are also methods of waterproofing the actual masonry. Our sweeps can apply an industrial strength waterproofing sealant that prevents water from entering the masonry. This specially formulated sealant actually allows vapors to escape through the masonry, while keeping moisture particles out as well.
To avoid the headache of water damage, spalling, and extensive repairs, call the professionals today. Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong during the life of your chimney including age, natural disasters, and more. The most detrimental thing that can happen to your masonry chimney is water penetration. Your chimney is constructed of a variety of masonry and metal materials, all of which are adversely affected by water. Therefore it is vital to keep them maintained, which most importantly includes waterproofing.
Professional Services, Professional Standards
When you trust a professional with your chimney, you get what you pay for. There are waterproofing products and services that are specially formulated for chimney use. Keep in mind they should only be applied by a professional who is experienced and educated!
Common waterproofing services that Billy Sweet offers include:
These are professional-grade chemical products that should only be applied by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS). This breathable sealant seals your chimney from water penetration from the outside. Also, the sealant still allows the vapors and smoke to be released through the porous masonry from the inside. This process is important and should not be missed while waterproofing your chimney.
Flashing is made up of thin sheets of metal, placed strategically and specifically for your chimney to keep water out. It is placed around the intersection of the chimney and roof. This can be very easily damaged over time. Only a professional chimney sweep knows the best material and best placement of the metal sheets for your chimney and slant of your roof. Choosing the wrong material or placing them improperly can cause shifting and rusting. This allows your chimney to leak.
- Chimney Caps
Although they may seem optional, the chimney cap is essential for chimney efficiency and the life of the chimney. It also keeps your family and property safe. The chimney cap keeps rain water and snow from falling into your chimney flue, while still allowing vapors out. The chimney cap can often be damaged or installed improperly, allowing water to fall into the chimney. This can result in rusting parts and damaging masonry through a process of freezing and thawing. Chimney caps also keep wild life out of your chimney, which can cause blockage and fire.
- Chimney Crown
The chimney crown works with the chimney cap to keep water from entering the chimney flue. The chimney crown is a concrete piece that reaches from the flue across the top of the chimney to the edge. It is constructed specifically for your chimney, with a slant to direct water away from the flue and onto the roof. If your chimney sweep reports only minor damage, cracks and pits in your crown, he can recommend and apply a crown coat sealant that will repair and prolong your crown’s life. If more extensive damage exists, your chimney sweep can remove the damaged crown and construct a new, durable crown that will last for years.
When Should You Waterproof?
To avoid damage, high cost repairs, and loss of life and property you should make chimney maintenance a priority. Scheduling your regular chimney sweeps and yearly inspections is the best way to catch a problem before it becomes a problem. By the time a homeowner notices a leak, stain, spalling, or other signs of a leaky chimney there is probably extensive unseen damage. A Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep is experienced and trained to notice risk factors and issues that pose a risk to your chimney system. We put safety first always, and we’re certified to get the job done right.
Call Billy Sweet today or contact us online to schedule an appointment!
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
Yes, smoke generally means a fire exists. However, in your fireplace or furnace, smoke usually indicates a less-than-efficient fire. If your fireplace is smoky, you most likely have a problem with your fuel, or with your venting system.
It is very important to choose properly seasoned wood to burn in your fireplace or furnace. If your wood is green or wet it will burn slower, less hot, and maybe incompletely. When green or wet wood is burned it often doesn’t burn hot enough to push the smoke up the chimney, causing the smoke to stall, and fall back down.
Improper Use or Maintenance
If your fireplace is releasing excess smoke into your home, you should first check the damper. The damper should be open in order to allow the smoke to rise up the chimney. If the damper lever is opened, the opening may be blocked by soot buildup or debris. Like the damper, if the chimney isn’t routinely cleaned, layers of soot can prevent the smoke from rising up the chimney and out of the home. You can schedule your routine chimney sweeping to have your chimney flue and damper cleaned thoroughly.
In order for gas to leave the home through the chimney, it has to pull from inside the home. When air is removed from the home it must be replaced. Modern homes are built tight, so air isn’t pulled from outside as the gases attempt to rise up the chimney. Even adding insulation or replacing windows in the home can create a smoke problem for this reason. An easy way to fix this problem is to open a window in another part of the home.
Also, it’s important to note that other home appliances can compete with the ventilation of the chimney. Even something as simple and harmless as a ceiling fan can compete with your chimney. Also, a leaky chimney can disrupt the draft of your fireplace.
Regardless of the cause, no home or business owner wants to deal with a smoke problem in the fireplace or furnace. Not only is it unpleasant, but it can cause respiratory issues if not corrected, and can also be a fire hazard. If the heated gases aren’t moving up the chimney, they can stall in the chimney flue and cause a flue fire. Because your chimney system is important, and the safety of your family and property are our top priority at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we recommend calling a professional if a smoking fireplace persists. Schedule your appointment today.
For more information about why your chimney isn’t working, check out the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and “100 Reasons Your Fireplace Doesn’t Work”.