The brick or stone that your fireplace is made of is strong material – strong enough to stand the test of time even when exposed to the elements. However, the ‘glue’ that holds these building blocks together – the mortar – isn’t as strong as these other materials. Over time, mortar will break down, and it’s important that you have your chimney inspected on an annual basis so that early signs of deterioration can be detected and repaired.
Common Repairs Needed
There are several different types of repairs that you may find are needed to get your chimney in its top running condition. It’s important that you have these repairs completed because, if you don’t, your family could be exposed to the dangers of a chimney or house fire.
One thing that your chimney inspection could reveal is cracks in the mortar. When your chimney is exposed to extreme temperature differences, the mortar joints will expand and contract. These expansions and contractions can cause cracks to appear in your mortar. This is a simple repair that can easily be fixed by a qualified, CSIA certified chimney technician; however, if left untreated year after year, these cracks can cause structural damage that will turn into a repair job of major expense.
Along similar lines, the freeze/thaw cycle can also affect the condition of your chimney. When precipitation permeates the pores in the mortar of your chimney and the temperature freezes, this water freezes and expands, causing the pores to get bigger. Over time, this freeze/thaw cycle can cause major cracks which will cause structural damage to occur. Not only this, but when precipitation is allowed to enter your chimney, metal components of your chimney, such as the damper and firebox assembly can start to rust.
According to woodheat.org, the very act of burning wood in your fireplace can cause problems with the mortar in your chimney system. The smoke from the fire mixes with moisture and condenses on the cool surface closer to the top of the chimney, leaving behind creosote, a sticky, highly flammable material that, if left untreated, can build up into a thick layer and cause chimney fires. Gas burning appliances leave corrosive substances that can damage the mortar in your chimney as well.
It’s quite easy to see why it’s so important that the masonry of your chimney be strong. It should also be evident how important it is to have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. If left to sit on the mortar of your chimney, creosote and other corrosive substances will cause your mortar to break down, causing structural damage and increasing the chance of chimney and house fires. It is especially important that you use Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified sweeps so that you know you are getting the most up-to-date information and highest quality workmanship. The experts at Chimney Sweep Plus certainly fit that bill. They take pride in offering a great service with quality workmanship. They’ll find any repairs that need to be taken care of, and if it’s mortar work, they’ll see to it that the work is done with the highest quality mortar around. Give them a call today!