Many homes in the Omaha area have chimneys. If you’re not familiar with chimney health, you may not be able to tell if your chimney is in good working condition or if your chimney needs repairs. Damaged chimneys pose a health hazard to your family, can be a fire hazard, and can compromise the overall safety and warmth of your home. Though you can not always tell if your chimney is damaged by looking at it, there are some red flags you can keep an eye out for. Remember, the best thing you can do for your chimney and other important structures in your home is to get regular inspections by professionals such as those A&A Roof & Exteriors.
Rusted Damper or Firebox
If there are signs of moistures in your fireplace or chimney, it’s a sign that your chimney isn’t operating the way it should. Rust is a big sign of too much moisture and you may see it in the firebox or on the damper. If your damper becomes hard to operate or isn’t sealing properly, it could be a symptom of rust. If you do have a rust problem, it could cause flue tiles to crack, which is a very dangerous situation. A cracked flue can allow too much heat into vulnerable areas and cause a fire in your home.
If water enters the concrete, natural stone, or brick, it damages the surface of the masonry, causing it to flake, peel, or pop out. Salt can also push outward from the inside of the bricks, causing spalling. Spalling looks like falling bits of masonry coming out of the chimney and, if it’s not taken care of, the result is crumbling and eventually total destruction of the chimney.
Damaged Mortar Joints
Damaged mortar joints are not easy to spot as you usually need to view your chimney from a high vantage point to see it. However, if you do discover it, you should immediately schedule repairs. This condition exposes bricks to larger amounts of moisture, causing cracks. These cracks get larger during the freezing and thawing cycle that happens during the colder months and can eventually lead to the collapse of the chimney.
Bubbled, discolored, or otherwise damaged wallpaper in the chimney area could be a sign of excess moisture. Any type of excess moisture needs to be looked at and repaired immediately as it is a hazard.
Shaling Flue Tiles
If the liner of the chimney is damaged, thin slices of tile can pile up at the bottom of it. Any cracked of shaling of tiles is a serious condition that could lead to a house fire. If the flue lining of the chimney is not in good shape, it is not safe to use the fireplace. Because this is an issue, many homeowners are switching to stainless steel liners. Keep in mind that it can be easy to spot shaling flue tiles if you know what to look for, but a cracked steel liner is usually only identifiable through a professional inspection.
Cracked Chimney Crown
Spotting a cracked chimney crown is another problem that is difficult for the homeowner to identify on his or her own because you can normally only see it from a rooftop. The condition of your crown is important because it’s the first line of defense against the elements and, when it’s damaged, water can get in and cause larger cracks and allow water into the liner, causing shaling and spalling. While you’re having an inspection, you can also ask your roofing professional to weatherproof the chimney and crown to prevent damage in the future.
The health of your chimney is important to the overall safety of your home. If you see any of the above red flags or if it’s been a few years since you’ve had your chimney inspected, schedule a free inspection with one of the experts at A&A Roofing & Exteriors today.