A chimney fire can cause devastating damage to your chimney and to your home. Certain weather situations, such as tornadoes or strong winds and storms can also cause damage to your chimney. But the most damaging element for your chimney is precipitation. It’s hard to believe that a gentle rain or snow can cause damage to such an enduring piece of construction, but it’s true. One way that this happens is through normal weathering over the years. More detrimental yet are the effects of the freeze-thaw cycle.
Damage Caused by Cold Temperatures
Although your chimney is an extremely sturdy structure, the brick and mortar from which it is made are not as durable. They are, in fact, porous. When precipitation occurs, the moisture seeps into those pores and sits. When the temperatures in New York drop below freezing, that moisture freezes and then expands, making those pores bigger and your chimney structure less stable. If this happened once or twice, it wouldn’t be a major issue. But as it occurs over and over again, your chimney can become structurally unstable. Even if your chimney is made of stone, the mortar that holds them together is susceptible to this process.
Chimney damage is serious business. When your chimney is less than stable, it can cause leaks down your chimney to occur, and this can cause more problems. It can cause the interior walls that are around your fireplace to soften and become weak, as well as the ceilings in this area. If you notice that the wallpaper or paint in these areas is stained or peeling, it may be that your chimney is leaking. Wall board can also be affected by leaks. If left to continue, moisture in your chimney can cause your damper assembly to rust, which will affect the seal and allow air to seep into your home or smoke to be pushed back into the room during fire burning. Moisture in your chimney can also cause a musty, nasty odor to occur.
Protection From Moisture Penetration
It may seem as though it would be impossible to protect your chimney from water damage. Rain, hail, and snow are pretty much unstoppable, and you can’t throw a tarp over your chimney every time it seems as though it’s going to fall. But there is a way to protect your chimney, and that is through a process called waterproofing. In the waterproofing process, we will apply a protective coating over your chimney which will seal it up and make it so that precipitation can’t get through. There are many products on the market that can accomplish this. Keeping water from penetrating the bricks and mortar aren’t the only problem, however. There is already water in the bricks, and that must be allowed to escape. Not all products can take care of this.
At Alpine Chimney Sweeps, we use ChimneySaver Water Repellent. This product not only keeps the moisture out, it also allows existing moisture to escape. That’s the one-two punch your chimney needs to keep it protected for many years to come!