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What Water Can Do To Your Chimney

Water is a major contributor to the ruining of your masonry chimney.  Your chimney is potentially one of the most taken-for-granted parts of your home.  You know it’s there, but rarely pay it very much attention.

Rainy Days Hurt Chimneys - Baton Rouge LA

It’s one of those things that you expect to be there for you when you need it but may not give it much additional thought in the meantime.  Not very many homeowners give much thought to keeping the chimney’s exterior in the best shape possible; “it’s all just cosmetic,” we think.  This thought process isn’t one to be ashamed of, but it is one to be corrected as soon as possible.

Water and metal are not the best of friends…

It’s common knowledge that water causes rust.  Water penetration can cause your metal damper assemblies and metal chimney liners to rust.  For every bit of rust you can see, there is likely to be even more that you can’t see.  Perhaps you haven’t seen any rust but haven’t been able to physically open your damper; it could be rusted because of water running down from the top (perhaps due to a missing or damaged chimney cap).  In order to prevent water from wreaking havoc on your metal chimney components, a chimney cap is an absolute must have!

Water can cause your brickwork to flake…

Chimney spalling (the flaking off of the brick surface) is a sign of severe moisture penetration.  Spalling bricks have cracks and breaks in the surface and often large, crater-shaped chips.  These bricks need to be repaired or replaced.  The best way to avoid brick spalling is to eliminate the moisture altogether.  If the area around your chimney crown is cracked or the cap itself is defective, this allows water to seep into the brickwork below, thereby increasing the chances for spalling.

Water has a tendency to erode your mortar…

Your chimney is exposed to the elements on the outside and the heat from your firebox on the inside.  As a result, the weathering process is increased.  As such, it is common for the mortar to begin to crumble and fall away, leaving open areas between the bricks, thereby exposing more surface area to these weathering agents.  Repointing your chimney might be your only option.  During this process, the damaged, old and loose mortar on your chimney is removed from the joints between the bricks and replaced with new mortar.

Unless you’re just itching for a reason to get rid of your chimney, there really is no excuse for not taking better care of it.  It’s time to have an experienced technician evaluate the condition of your chimney’s interior and exterior, get them repaired if necessary, and have your chimney coated with a waterproofing agent.  So whether you have a leaky chimney or are simply looking to be proactive and prevent leaks before they happen, call the professionals at Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair today!

By Ronald Caillais on September 5th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment

Keeping Water Out

We at Basic Chimney Sweep use a vapor-permeable waterproofing agent, which allows the chimney to breathe. Water is prevented from entering from the outside while still allowing water that has penetrated along with the vapors produced during usage to escape as well.

We at Basic Chimney Sweep use a vapor-permeable waterproofing agent, which allows your chimney to breathe.

Your chimney is potentially one of the most taken-for-granted parts of your home. You know it’s there but rarely pay it very much attention. It’s one of those things that you expect to be there for you when you need it but may not give it much thought in the meantime. Not very many homeowners give much thought to keeping the chimney’s exterior in tiptop shape; “it’s all just cosmetic,” we think. This thought process isn’t one to be ashamed of, but it is one to be corrected.

Your Chimney’s Inherent Flaw

Chimney materials – brick and mortar – are, by nature, porous. As such, they experience hastened deterioration as a result of prolonged exposure to and contact with water and the elements. The freezing and thawing process—during which time water that has penetrated the various chimney materials freezes and expands—quickly deteriorates the overall construction of your chimney.

Stopping the Dreaded Freeze-Thaw Cycle

One way to limit the impact the freezing and thawing cycle has on your chimney is to prevent as much water as possible from penetrating the materials as possible. Water in your chimney can also cause rust on steel and cast iron parts, ultimately weakening or destroying them over time. The exterior of your chimney is constantly getting battered from the weather. Harsh weather conditions can have a negative effect on your chimney.

Should I Consider Waterproofing?

By waterproofing your chimney, it will repel up to 99.9% of the water that would otherwise penetrate the brick and/or other materials. Waterproofing is a true preventative measure that can add years to your chimney’s life. Because it’s not a requirement, many homeowners de-prioritize it; this is a big mistake! There are many issues that can develop as a result of water being on and getting in to your chimney, and, as such, swift and immediate action should be taken to ensure that you’re not faced with unnecessary and avoidable repairs bills.

Unless you simply want to get rid of your chimney sooner or later, there really is no excuse for not waterproofing it. This one simple thing can help ensure that both the water outside won’t enter your house through the chimney and that you are able to enjoy your fireplace for many years to come. It’s time to look at the condition your chimney’s exterior is in, get it repaired if necessary, and have it coated with a waterproofing product. Contact the certified service professionals at Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair today for more information or to schedule an appointment!

WHAT is that Smell Coming From the Chimney?

It could be a number of things, and it is good that you are not taking it lightly because it signals an unsafe fireplace system. A chimney should remove smells from the home, not introduce them, so something is interfering with proper draft. Whatever it is needs to be corrected and the chimney needs to be inspected before you can safely build a fire.

Smells Bad - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep

Damp and Musty

If it is a stale, damp smell, check around the fireplace carefully for other signs of water entry. Look for stains on the ceiling and walls around it, and feel the walls of the fireplace, to check for obvious dampness. Make sure your chimney cap is still up there and if you are up to it, inspect the mortar and flashing for cracks or gaps.

Smoky and Acrid

This could be either creosote deposits heating up or a nest obstructing the chimney and sending smoke back into the house. Either one of these really needs to be checked by a certified chimney sweep to ensure it is done properly and safely. Some nests are protected by law and can only be removed with a permit, and the dangers of creosote are well known.

Rotting and Foul

A critter probably got stuck in the chimney. Even if it is within reach, you probably do not want to deal with this yourself either. Since its being there indicates a real problem with the chimney, you can let the professional that checks it do the dirty work. A different kind of “rotting and foul” might be the smell of mold, and you are back to water damage.

Whatever It Is, It’s Bad

Regardless of what accounts for the smell, the chimney is not drafting properly and the fireplace cannot be used. Furthermore, whatever its cause, more serious ramifications have to be prevented by a professional inspection of the chimney. As a result, that smell coming from your chimney is an announcement that you need a CSIA certified sweep.

By Ronald Caillais on April 19th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Your Chimney and Water Damage

Depending on the type of material it is made from, your chimney may be more susceptible to damage by water than by fire. Certainly true for masonry chimneys, that is counter-intuitive, with no one really thinking about water damaging chimneys. Generally, the worry with chimneys in the minds of homeowners is all about sparks and fires.

Water: Love It or Leave It

Water, however, is often the original source of the explosive chimney fire of which responsible homeowners are rightfully worried. Allowed to seep in, it expands and contracts with the freezes and thaws of changing seasons. It does not sound that bad; it sounds almost poetic. However, it seriously threatens the integrity of chimneys.

Chimney & Water Damage - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney

That perfectly natural characteristic of water stretches and shrinks the material it is in, further deteriorating your chimney’s mortar. Water also, perfectly naturally, rots wood and erodes even rock, in a process that can probably be made to sound enchanting. Look around a canyon, however, to fully grasp what water can do to brick with the simple passage of time.

Let the River Flow Somewhere Else

It is not a pretty sight when it is your chimney that is crumbling, and a river in your fireplace is not exactly the interior decorating you had in mind. Leaks are usually a pretty clear sign that a roof-top canyon is developing, but hopefully homeowners do not let things go that far these days. Protecting chimneys from water damage is as easy as scheduling a certified sweep to get up there and see how they are doing.

It is a good idea, by the way, to do this in spring, when chimney sweeps are easier to schedule and before the rains come. If repairs or replacements are necessary, you have plenty of time to finish the job before a chimney in good condition becomes even more critical. Fire is definitely dangerous and mandates routine chimney inspections; but when it comes to chimneys, it is important not to play with water either.

By Ronald Caillais on February 27th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment
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