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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

Signs your chimney needs repairs

masonry chimney - Fort Wayne IN - Old Smokey's Fireplace and Chimney

Your chimney and fireplace have worked hard, keeping you warm all winter. Now, it’s almost that time of year to give your chimney system a break during warmer weather. However, before your chimney system is shut down for the year, it’s a good idea to determine if your chimney needs any major repairs. At Old Smokey’s we want you to know the telltale signs that your chimney needs repairs. Being able to recognize symptoms associated with a chimney issue can help our chimney technicians more easily determine what is wrong with your chimney. It should be noted that even though you might be able to correctly diagnose an issue at home, that only a trained chimney professional that has been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) should attempt to make the final diagnoses and repair on your chimney system. A CSIA certified technician has been trained and tested on the correct chimney inspection and maintenance methods and is the only one who should be trusted to perform any actual work on your chimney. If an inexperienced person works on your chimney, there is a possibility that they can make the problem worse, which could be potentially hazardous to your home and your family.

Operational Issues

Now is a good time to think back about when you used your fireplace this past year. If you used your fireplace a lot this winter, you probably know exactly how it is supposed to operate for your home. While you were operating your fireplace, did you notice any issues, even if they were temporary? This could include anything from smoke coming into your living areas, draftiness, difficulty starting a fire, or poorly burning fires. These are all signs that there is some kind of airflow issue with your fireplace or chimney. Lots of times, these issues are related to creosote buildup, clogged chimneys, or a faulty damper. However, there are other issues that could also be a problem. Making sure that there is proper airflow to your fireplace is crucial to creating hot fires. Without proper airflow, you will not get your money’s worth from your fuel and your chimney will be more likely to accumulate large amounts of creosote.

Masonry Issues

Think back on the winter. Was there freezing weather? Was there a freeze/thaw cycle? If there was, you will want to check over your masonry. Moisture can wreak havoc on your chimney’s masonry. When it rains, moisture can enter tiny pores in your masonry’s brickwork and mortar. This water can pool inside of your masonry and erode it slowly from the inside out. However, the freeze/thaw cycle hastens masonry deterioration. When moisture inside your masonry freezes, it expands, putting pressure on your masonry. This can cause masonry to weaken by cracking, chipping, and crumbling the brickwork and mortar. You can inspect your masonry by looking closely at your brickwork or mortar. If you notice that your mortar is popping out or crumbling, it means that it needs to be replaced with a technique called repointing. Look at the grass around your chimney. If you see little flecks of brick on the grass, this is an issue caused by the freeze/thaw cycle called spalling. Finally, look at your bricks. If you see any cracking, loose, or crumbling brickwork, it needs to be addressed. At Old Smokey’s, our experienced masons can make sure that your brickwork is in great shape with our masonry repair services.

Chimney Components

Finally, look at all the other components of your chimney. Three components that are vulnerable to winter weather are your chimney cap, your chimney crown, and your chimney flashing. Unfortunately, all these things are located on the top, or near the top of your chimney. We do not recommend that you go on top of your roof, but instead inspect it from the ground. If you have a pair of binoculars, they can help you see your chimney top better. First look at the very top of your chimney. There should be a metal, mesh cap attached to the top of your chimney above the opening. If your chimney cap looks mangled, bent, or is totally missing, you’ll need to remedy this immediately. Your chimney cap is needed to make sure rain, debris, and nesting animals don’t enter into your chimney. Next, look at your chimney crown. Your chimney crown is the cement or mortar edge around the opening of your chimney. Your chimney crown is important for protecting deflecting water away from your masonry. If you see any crumbling or cracking in your chimney crown, this needs to be addressed. Finally, look to see if there is any shiny metal poking up in the area where your chimney meets your roof. If you notice this, it means that your chimney flashing is loosened. Chimney flashing is designed to bridge the gap between your roof and the point where your chimney comes through your roof. If it is loose or missing, rainwater can easily spill into a home, damaging walls, framing, and causing mold issues. If you notice that any of these components are damaged, they need to be repaired immediately to properly protect your chimney and home.

Doing an at-home inspection should never replace your annual chimney inspection. [] If you notice any of the issues with your chimney or fireplace, it is important to call a CSIA certified technician before a small issue turns into a larger one. At Old Smokey’s, our CSIA certified technicians can repair whatever issue that arises in your chimney. [] If you live in northern Indiana, northern Ohio, or mid-Michigan, call us today at 800-876-6539 or 260-587-9691, or schedule an inspection appointment online. We look forward to helping you with your spring repairs.

April Showers Bring Chimney Damage

If April showers bring May flowers, what do they do to masonry chimneys? Whatever month the rain comes down, it poses a threat to your chimney.

Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney is familiar with the onslaughts of seasonal meteorological assaults on your chimney.

Let’s take a closer look.

Cold (or warm) April showers leave an impact on bricks and mortar. The rains exert physical stress on chimneys.

Old Smokey’s understands what damage excessive moisture can do to your chimney. Moisture in your chimney can damage the brickwork, chimney crown, flashing or liner. Brick absorbs water. Gaps, cracks or crumbling in mortar joints can allow this water to spread to other parts of your chimney.

Old Smokey’s has seen this many times.

A good move if you suspect water intrusion is a professional chimney inspection. We have to find out what’s going on — if anything. Water intrusion problems might not be seen by the average person at first glance. We suggest you schedule an appointment with Old Smokey’s today. Call us at 260-424-0009 or 800-876-6539 or click here.

Have Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney take a professional look at your chimney’s brickwork. We’ll assess whether damage from April showers warrants chimney repair or rebuild.

Spalling is just one type of brick damage. Spalling is the surface deterioration of your brickwork. Cracks appear. Pieces of brick begin to form chips and break off. It’s a breakdown that demands attention, often resulting in brick replacement or more.

Let Old Smokey’s conduct an honest assessment of current conditions and guide you through recommended remedial options, ranging from repointing to selective brick replacement to chimney rebuilds.

The signs of leakage can be visual or smell-related.

Perhaps you see rust streaks, brick deterioration or vegetation on your chimney. Maybe your chimney smells damp, mildewed or moldy. How can you tell for sure what the cause is? A professional annual inspection is your best insurance policy against further damage from water or moisture intrusion. During an inspection, we identify areas of water entry, examine the flashing, the roof area surrounding the chimney, the chimney cap, the chimney crown and the masonry of the chimney itself.

One obvious remedy is to waterproof your chimney. Our highly trained technicians can apply the most effective waterproofing products available, designed for chimney systems and protective of your masonry.

Perhaps your moisture problem is caused my improperly installed or poor-quality flashing material. Properly installed and maintained flashing is an effective tool for keeping water out of your chimney system.

We are proud of our Old Smokey’s trained professionals.

For more than 20 years, Old Smokey’s has delivered excellence to homeowners in northern Indiana, northern Ohio and mid-Michigan. Homeowners from Elkhart in the west to Ypsilanti in the east, from Lansing in the north to Defiance and Fort Wayne in the south are served by Old Smokey’s.

Call us at today 260-424-0009 or 800-876-6539 or schedule an appointment online.

When you call, if you just happen to hear the Beatles’ song “Rain” while you’re waiting, that just means we’re not afraid of a little spring rain.

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