Our Company Blog

How Can Water Hurt A Chimney?

Of all the things that can bring a chimney down, water is not the first thing that comes to mind. Fires, earthquakes, and neglect, yes. But water?

Can Water Hurt A Chimney Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsWater and Your Masonry

Your masonry is constructed of various materials, all of which are adversely affected by water. When water is allowed to penetrate the masonry, through neglect or storm damage, it can damage the chimney system from the inside out.

Chimney Water Damage

When water penetrates the chimney system, it causes a drop in efficiency, which affects safety and performance. It also leads to mounting damages that can cost an arm and a leg to repair.

  • Rusted parts including doors, hinges, damper assemblies.
  • Stained and weakened masonry, walls, floors, and wall coverings.
  • Clogged clean-out area.
  • Cracked and deteriorated flue liner.
  • Chimney settlement, collapse, or leaning chimney.
  • Water damage in other parts of the house.
  • Mold, mildew, and stains throughout system.
  • Decrease in air quality and affected central air and heat system.

Seattle Chimneys

In the Pacific Northwest, we endure a lot of rain. Our service area likely deals with more rain and water damage than any other area in the country, simply because of the climate. Because it rains so steadily in Seattle year-round, it’s important to stay on top of prevention, and keep the leak from happening in the first place.

  1. Schedule routine maintenance including chimney sweeps and inspections.
    It’s at these routine appointments that a chimney professional will catch damage before it happens.
  2. Waterproof masonry before winter with ChimneySaver.
    This is a vapor-soluble waterproofing agent applied by a certified professional. ChimneySaver allows vapors to escape while keeping water molecules from penetrating the masonry.
  3. Make necessary repairs as soon as damage occurs.
    Damaged masonry can allow water direct access to the chimney system, causing more damage as days pass. Schedule a masonry repair as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Freeze/Thaw Cycle

If a leaky chimney is not addressed as soon as possible, water continues to penetrate the chimney system. As fall turns to winter, this can become more serious as water freezes and thaws in what we call the freeze/thaw cycle. Water penetrates the masonry, then freezes, expanding and further damaging the brick and mortar. When the chimney heats, the water melts and moves further into the damaged masonry. As the chimney cools again, the water freezes, repeating the cycle as it breaks apart the masonry. This cycle can repeat all winter long, causing spalling masonry and the water damage described above. Again, the best way to stop water damage is to prevent it.

Don’t let rainy Washington hurt your chimney this winter, or any other time. Hire the best chimney sweep in Seattle, and let us handle your comprehensive chimney maintenance year-round. Call Pristine Sweeps today at 206-574-8414.

National Fire Prevention Week Oct 8-14

In Seattle we have typically mild weather with consistent rainfall year-round, but fall is in the air! It is time to fire up the stove or fireplace, and you don’t want to do that until you’re sure it’s ready to go. October is the first real month that fires are burning for warmth, it’s the start of the busy season for chimney sweeps, and National Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14!

National Fire Prevention Week Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsThe National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a campaign every October dedicated to bringing down the number of fires in the US. According to the US Fire Administration there was nearly 1.3 million reported fires in 2014, resulting in 3,275 deaths, 16,000 injuries, and $11.6 billion in property loss. These numbers are still too high, despite decreasing each year. It’s our hope at Pristine Sweeps, that we can help families to be safer from fires each and every winter.

Preventative Measures

You can help prevent fires in your home by maintaining your chimney system properly. Always hire a professional to install, repair, or service components to your system. Keep your chimney system clean and functional by scheduling routine chimney sweeps. Catch problems before they start by having a certified chimney sweep complete a CSIA inspection annually, and have your dryer vent cleaned annually to prevent dryer vent fires.

Other things you can do to prevent fire or injury due to fire is:

  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and make sure to check batteries monthly.
  • Practice fire safety and teach your children that the fire is dangerous.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Never cook with a stove-top or oven, burn a fire, or run the dryer overnight.
  • Make a fire escape plan that includes two ways out of every room if possible.
  • Never close the damper while the fire is burning.
  • Only burn properly seasoned wood in your fireplace, stove, or insert. Burning other items can result in fire and excess creosote and smoke.
  • Only purchase quality products that adhere to federal and local regulations for safety.

Some Fires Are Not Preventable

There can be faulty wires that homeowners aren’t aware of. Also, there can be malfunctions in appliances, and wildfires can even ignite your home. There are many disasters that can result in fires, but you can be prepared for the worst. Join us during National Fire Prevention Week and tell your family, your neighbors, and your friends about the dangers of fire. Share the resources at www.firepreventionweek.org, and make it a family affair! You may not be able to prevent fires completely, but you can prevent further injury and even death by being prepared.