Environmental Chimney Sweep Inc.

How Do I Know if My Chimney has Structural Damage?


There are definitely warning signs when it comes to chimney damage. There are some that are not visible and need professional investigation, but there are definitely some signs that you can look for to know if you are in need of further inspection. Chimney damage is definitely not something to be casual about. If you see signs of a damaged chimney, the safety of your home and even your family may be in danger.

Is Water a Problem? Any type of water or moisture in the chimney is an immediate concern. Water in your chimney can come from many sources. If there has been heavy rain, chimneys retain much water. Chimneys are commonly built from brick and mortar, which like a sponge, can hold a lot of water, but will eventually reach its maximum and begin to leak into your firebox and even into your home. Some of the damage may not even be visible or apparent without further structural investigation. Rust is caused by water, therefore any type of rust is a definite warning sign, whether it be in the chimney itself or maybe even in the damper or firebox. Clay Tile Chimney Liners are also in danger of cracking due to water leaking into the tiles, which can be caused by even a very small crack.

Water damage in any part of your chimney is a major warning sign. No matter where the moisture is located, it is important to search it out and find the source.

Mortar Schmortar. Who needs it? Your chimney does. Deterioration in the mortar between the bricks is commonly caused by water and regular wear and tear. It can also be caused by weather changes and even just the natural settling of the houuse. Mortar deteriation can be a serious problem. When the mortar is damaged or breaking off, it allows water to get behind the bricks and cause structural damage, allowing pieces of the chimney to fall away from the brick structure. This is often caused by the freezing and thawing weather, which causes the bricks to contract and expand.

Fire, The greater danger. Continued use of a chimney after a fire can put you and your home in great danger. There is usually damage beyond the obvious fire damage that you see. Fires effect the creosote deposits, causing cracking to the tiles and the liner. It will continue to build up, making normal use very unsafe. You must have a thorough inspection after a fire, even if it seems that there was no permanent damage incurred.

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