Now that spring is here, we can look forward to the sound of gentle rain hitting the roof. Did you know that the same rain that waters the plants and greens up your yard can also cause serious damage to your chimney and fireplace? It’s true – but there are ways to protect your chimney from the structural damage that precipitation can cause.
Damage from Precipitation
The mortar that holds the materials of your fireplace together is a porous material, and that means that rain can permeate into it. And when this happens, it wears away at the makeup of the mortar, making it soft and crumbly and unstable. This can cause structural damage which can lead to major repairs if not caught in a timely manner. During the winter, this permeation can be especially serious because of the freeze thaw cycle. During this cycle, the precipitation freezes in the cracks and expands, causing even bigger cracks to occur.
Signs of Damage
There are some things to look for when it comes to water damage. One thing that is highly noticeable is spalling – flaking, cracking, or peeling around your chimney. Another sign is soft, crumbly mortar, which is a good indication that water damage has occurred. There are also things to look for on the inside of your house: peeling wallpaper, water stains on the walls near your chimney, or rusting damper assemblies, to name a few.
What Can Be Done
Most people who own homes with chimneys have heard about chimney caps. This is an important piece of equipment that can protect the interior of your chimney from precipitation or from animals or debris that might sneak into your chimney and cause damage on the inside. Another piece of equipment that often gets overlooked is the chimney crown, and this could be because of being unfamiliar with the vocabulary of chimneys.
A chimney crown is not the same as a chimney cap. A chimney cap fits inside your chimney in order to keep things out. A chimney crown, on the other hand, is a piece that fits over the top of your chimney, covering and sealing the top and providing a downward slope so that the precipitation run-off will be directed to the roof instead of onto the exterior of the chimney. Your chimney crown should hang over by a minimum of two inches so that this run-off is achieved.
Call in the Pros
You may not know everything about your chimney, but you do know you want to keep your chimney in a state of good repair and that it’s important to protect it from precipitation. The good news is that you don’t need to know all the vocab – you can call in the experts and trust them to tell you what needs to be done. The technicians at Chimney Sweep Plus are CSIA certified and knowledgeable about all aspects of your fireplace and chimney system, including the chimney crown. Give them a call today to see if your chimney crown needs to be repaired or replaced, and make sure that your chimney is getting all the protection from precipitation possible.