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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.

Start Spring Cleaning Off Right

While you’re organizing your Spring Cleaning to-do list, you should remember your chimney along with all your other home maintenance. Your chimney has been working for you all winter long, maybe daily, and it needs some attention.

What You Can Do

First, you should clean the surfaces of the hearth and close off the chimney when you’re finished with it for the season. By closing the damper you can save yourself in air conditioning costs this summer. You can also prevent foul odors from soot and humidity from entering your home while you wait for your appointment. As soon as you are able you should schedule an appointment with a professional chimney sweep company.Start Spring Cleaning Off Right Image - Seattle WA - Pristine Sweeps, LLC

Choosing the Right Chimney Sweep Company

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend annual maintenance including regular chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections. Scheduling your inspection in the spring means that you can catch any winter damage before it is made worse by water penetration and summer humidity. While looking for a chimney sweep company to assess and clean your chimney system, look for one who is familiar with the area’s climate, common chimney damages, repairs, and local regulations.

Make Necessary Repairs Now

Your chimney expert may find chimney damages or possible problems that can be dealth with right away. Schedule your chimney repairs now so that spring showers aren’t able to worsen the damage. Also, making repairs now means that your chimney will be ready to use when cool weather comes in the fall. A common mistake homeowners make is putting off routine maintenance and repairs until fall. This is often called the “fall rush” because it’s the period at the start of burn season when chimney sweeps are busy getting chimneys ready for winter. During this time it can be difficult to get the appointment time you need and you may even be forced to use a chimney sweep you aren’t happy with in order to get the work completed. It’s best to plan ahead.

Closing Out Your Chimney for the Off-Season

If you have already had your chimney inspection for the year, you can still have your chimney swept before closing it out for the summer. Many homeowners schedule a chimney sweep in the spring because a dirty chimney can become stinky when temperatures warm up. Soot and creosote can become pungent when it mingles with moisture. Even if your chimney doesn’t have a leak, the natural humidity of summer will permeate the whole chimney system and create these odors. Once your chimney is swept you can close the damper to save on utilities. If you have a top-sealing damper you can close off your chimney system with an air-tight seal from the top, preventing water penetration, drafts, and animal intrusion.

When you’re ready to close out your chimney for the spring, a chimney expert from Pristine Sweeps can help you remember every step. It’s always our goal for our customers to be safe and comfortable year-round. Call Pristine Sweeps at 206-574-8414 and schedule your appointment today.

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment