Winter may be your fireplace’s time to shine, but it can be the hardest on your chimney system. Winter damage can lead to unexpected costs when you need repairs in the spring. Like so many other household systems, it’s easier and cheaper to prevent damage than it is to repair it.

Chimney Leaks and Winter Damage

One of the most devastating things that can happen to your chimney is a leak. Because masonry is constructed of materials that are adversely affected by water, it is the one thing that can damage your chimney from the inside-out, oftentimes before you even notice!

When water penetrates the masonry, it causes rust, deterioration, mold, and more. When temperatures drop, it damages the masonry itself through a freeze/thaw cycle. First, water collects in cracks and crevices in the masonry. As temperatures fall, the water freezes and expands, breaking apart the masonry. When the chimney warms up either from a fire or because of the weather, the water melts and moves further into the newly damaged masonry. Temperatures drop again and the process continues. The freeze/thaw cycle can continue throughout winter, leading to structural damage, serious masonry damage, and chimney leaks that affect not only the chimney but also your home.

Preventative Measures that Work

The best way to prevent winter damage is to make sure your chimney system is functioning properly and is in good shape. If the chimney has spalling mortar, a deteriorated crown, a missing or damaged cap, or flashing, it is more likely to be affected by winter damage. Many of these issues are overlooked by a homeowner who doesn’t know what to look for. If the chimney is seen by a professional, these issues can be repaired and the damage can be avoided.

Schedule Routine Maintenance – Both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommend regular chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections for the safest and most efficient chimney system. These appointments may be the only time an expert gets a look at your chimney system. Take their recommendations seriously.

Make Necessary Repairs Before Winter – If you have a small amount of damage to your masonry in the fall, it can be a large problem by the time spring arrives. The freeze/thaw cycle is only allowed to ruin your chimney if it’s first allowed to penetrate the masonry. Make chimney repairs as soon as you know they’re necessary.

Schedule Waterproofing Services – Let Pristine Sweeps apply a coat of ChimneySaver to your chimney. This vapor-permeable product is designed to allow gases out of the masonry, but prevents penetration by water molecules, even repelling it. When your chimney is coated with ChimneySaver, your masonry will not be affected by water. It doesn’t change the appearance of your masonry at all; however, it prevents stains that would be caused by water. ChimneySaver comes with a 10-year warranty and is eco-friendly. With all the benefits, there isn’t a reason not to let Pristine Sweeps waterproof your chimney.

Call Pristine Sweeps at 206-574-8414 or schedule online now.