Many people make the mistake of assuming that the structure of their fireplace is extremely durable and never needs to be repaired. Over time the weather can take its toll on your beloved fireplace and can become an extreme fire hazard to you and your family. Below we shall go over 7 obvious signs that your chimney is in need of repair.
Efflorescence or White Staining
Efflorescence is the word used to describe the white discoloration on a chimney. Cleaning the efflorescence is quite is to clean off however does not solve the moisture issue which is the cause of the white staining. This problem can become dangerous if not dealt with properly and can cause deterioration of the chimney.
Rust shouldn’t form on your firebox or damper, however, if it is this means there is a moisture issue as well. Since you will not see the damper readily diagnosing this issue can be troublesome. Signs that tell of rusting are poor sealing and operation of the damper. If there is noticeable signs of rusting this could also mean other parts of your chimney could be seriously damaged like cracked flue tiles. At first sign of rust be sure to get help from a professional chimney sweep.
Deteriorating Mortar Joints
Any signs of damaged mortar joints between chimney masonry should be replaced as soon as possible. When the masonry is exposed to more moisture than is should be from deteriorated mortar the chimney itself can deteriorate at an accelerated rated. This can be much more troublesome in the winter when moisture freezes inside bricks, rocks, and cement, causing larger cracks. An entire chimney could collapse if damaged mortar is not properly replaced.
Sometimes small thin tiles can accumulate at the bottom in the fireplace, this is a very good indications that you flue is damaged and needs to be replaced. The flue lining is essential to the safe operation of a fireplace and chimney. Getting an annual chimney inspection is a must if you own or have a chimney in your residence. These inspections can closely analyze you flue lining and find any problems that could otherwise go completely unnoticed.
The term spalling is used to describe the issue which occurs on the outside of the chimney and can be detected from the bit of masonry around the bottom of the structure. As moisture penetrates masonry it will force the surface of the brick, concrete, or stone to peel off, pop out, or flake of. Replacing damaged masonry will prevent any of these things from happening.
If you have wallpaper in your home and it is near your chimney this can provide you with some more visible signs of chimney damage. If there is excessive moisture in your chimney the wallpaper will begin to look damaged. If you see this sign please get professional chimney sweeps to take a look before you continue to use your fireplace.
Chimney Crown Damage
To inspect this is will be necessary to be on your roof to inspect this. The chimney crown is an essential part of the chimney structure. The chimney crown provides a first line of defense again the harsh weather types and conditions. A cracked crown can cause moisture to leak in and create larger cracks. This problem can also lead to the spalling and shalling problems explained above. The best defense against this is to weatherproof your chimney crown.