Here at Chimney Sweeps of America in Denver, we’re all too familiar with chimney problems during winter. Once the cold weather, rain and snow arrive, this exterior structure is exposed to the harshest conditions. So, we’ve written up this handy guide to point out what poses a danger and how to prevent chimney problems during winter as much as possible.
At the top of the list of for chimney problems during winter is prolonged contact with moisture. The bummer about winter is that lots of moisture come with the territory.
For example, if you have snow piling up on your roof and are using your fireplace, it will melt the snow and cause puddles around the chimney. Couple that with all the expanding and contracting as the materials react to temperature change and you have a recipe for disaster.
If left unattended the mortar will begin to crack and crumble because of the moisture content. Don’t ever keep using a chimney that you know (or even suspect) is in bad shape. House fires and other dangerous events occur because people keep using their chimneys. They think that it won’t hurt to use the fireplace just one more time before calling a professional to inspect the chimney and make the appropriate repairs.
When moisture has entered into the bricks or mortar or a chimney, it can cause damage to other things as well, not just the chimney. For example, moisture can get inside the home and stain or ruin a wall. The other parts of the fireplace can also get damaged. The metal firebox can start to deteriorate; the damper assemblies might even rust and stop working. Water can also mix with creosote inside your chimney and perpetuate a nasty smell that could permeate your home.
The best way to deal with moisture problems in your chimney is to prevent them from happening altogether. Now, obviously, you can’t keep it from raining or snowing all winter, so instead, you must find a way to keep moisture from getting into the chimney somehow.
Chimney caps are an inexpensive and remarkably practical way of doing that. They serve more than one purpose as well. In addition to keeping water from entering, they also prevent small animals and birds from setting up nests and causing blockages inside the chimney.
Another practical method to keep water away from your chimney is installing a cricket. The design of some roofs causes water to flow continually against the chimney. The cricket is a device designed to divert that water away from your chimney.
It may also be beneficial to waterproof the chimney. The professionals are not necessarily in agreement on its effectiveness or the best way to waterproof your chimney, so be sure to have a chat with us first before taking this step.
We hope this information about chimney problems during winter is helpful for you. You can direct any further questions to one of our friendly staff members here at Chimney Sweeps of America. We provide the insight and services needed to keep your chimney in tip-top shape!