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Protect Your Chimney from Rain

What’s the biggest danger your chimney faces? Many people assume that a chimney fire is the biggest risk your chimney faces. In fact, chimney water raindamage is far more of a threat. Water damage to your chimney can cause cracks and leaks, and even deteriorate your chimney to the point of threatening its structural integrity. Water is so damaging to a chimney, in fact, that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has declared water chimney’s No. 1 enemy and cautions homeowners to do all they can to protect their chimney’s from water damage. Here are some things you can do to keep your chimney safe.

Put a cap on your chimney.

All chimneys should be outfitted with a chimney cap. A chimney cap shelters your chimney’s flue from falling precipitation. Without a chimney cap in place, water can flow down into your chimney every time it rains, causing damage to your chimney flue and creating damaging puddles in the bottom of your chimney. Installing a chimney cap is the CSIA’s primary recommendation from protecting your chimney from water damage.

Check your chimney crown.

In addition to a chimney cap, a chimney crown helps to prevent water from entering your chimney flue. However, many chimney crowns are improperly constructed from the wrong materials. A chimney crown should slope downward away from the opening of the chimney flue to direct water down away from the chimney flue opening. Your certified chimney sweep can check your chimney crown to verify that it’s been properly constructed to protect your chimney.

Address chimney damage immediately.

Chimney damage leads to more chimney damage. Cracks in your chimney’s masonry or in your chimney crown allows water to gain further access to your chimney and cause more damage. If you notice cracks in your chimney or chimney crown, if you notice that mortar has become soft and begun to crumble away, or if you notice signs that water is leaking into your home in or around your chimney, have the chimney inspected and repaired as soon as possible to prevent water from damaging your chimney or your home further.

Have your chimney waterproofed.

One of the best preventative measures you can take to protect your chimney from water damage is to have your chimney waterproofed. Masonry materials are porous; they naturally absorb water, which can cause chimney damage. A chimney waterproofing solution can block 99 percent of water from entering your chimney while still allowing your chimney’s masonry to breath and exhaust the smoke and moisture created by your fireplace. Waterproofing your chimney can help keep your chimney protected from water damage for years.

Water can seriously damage your chimney. That damage can spread to your home, and it can compromise the integrity of your chimney, putting your home at risk for smoke or fire damage. A to Z Chimney Services can help keep your chimney and your home safe from water damage. Call today to schedule an appointment to have your chimney inspected to determine if it’s at risk for water damage!

Does Your Chimney Need to Be Repaired? Now’s the Time!

Your Chimney May Need to Be RepairedSummer will quickly yield to fall — is your chimney ready? If your chimney is in need of repairs, now is the time to schedule them! Scheduling your chimney repair now will ensure that you get your repair on your chimney company’s schedule before the fall rush hits and before colder, wetter weather can interfere with repair work. By having your chimney repaired now, you won’t risk being unable to use your fireplace when temperatures drop. What are some common repairs your chimney could need?

Missing or damaged chimney cap

A chimney cap is your chimney’s best defense against water damage. That’s because having a chimney cap over your chimney opening prevents water from running straight down your flue every time it rains. Often, chimneys are missing caps or chimney caps are in disrepair and fail to protect the chimney. Your chimney should have a sturdy cap in place before fall begins, and your chimney cap should be surrounded by a wire cage to prevent animals and debris from entering your chimney.

Cracks in the firebox or chimney flue

When a chimney begins to deteriorate, the damage is often internal. Faced with the extreme heat from your fireplace, moisture from outside and corrosive byproducts from fires, the firebox and chimney liner can begin to corrode, crack or begin to crumble. This damage is dangerous, as weaknesses in the firebox and chimney can let smoke, heat and carbon monoxide to leak out of your chimney and into your home. If you notice cracks in your firebox, pieces or debris in your fireplace or have been told that your chimney liner has deteriorated, your fireplace and chimney interior should be repaired before you light another fire.

Crumbling chimney exterior

Exterior chimney masonry can fall victim to dangerous damage, too. Porous chimney masonry absorbs water, and over time, that water can cause chimney bricks to crack and mortar to crumble away. Chimney cracks, or crumbling masonry, allow even more water to enter your chimney. If exterior masonry chimney damage is ignored, the chimney structure can fail, and your chimney can begin to lean or even fall.

Rusted or warped chimney damper

Nothing annoys homeowners quite like a rusted or warped chimney damper. The heat from your firebox causes metal dampers to warp, while any exposure to moisture can cause them to rust. Cold air can leak around the dampers when your fireplace isn’t in use, chilling your living space, and they can become impossible to open or close. If you’re combating a warped damper, consider replacing your faulty damper with a top-sealing chimney damper, a superior damper design that completely seals off your chimney to moisture, cold drafts and animal intrusions.

If your chimney requires repairs, don’t wait for the fall chimney rush to strike; now is the time to have your chimney repaired! Call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule your chimney repairs today!

The Freeze-Thaw Cycle and Your Chimney

California is known for its hot, sunny days and sandy beaches. For those of us who live in this much-idealized state, however, we know that hot, sunny summer days give way to cold, wet, rainy winters. Here in Sacramento, it’s not unheard of to see freezing overnight temperatures December through February. If you have a masonry chimney, that means you need to be on the lookout for damage caused by the freeze-thaw cycle.

What is the freeze-thaw cycle?

As the name suggests, the freeze-thaw cycle has to do with constantly changing temperatures. Wet, rainy weather, or even thawing ice, can flood porous surfaces like roadways, parking lots, sidewalks and your chimney with water. The water that makes its way into the cracks and crevices of masonry material freezes when temperatures drop. As the water turns to ice, it expands, leading to cracks or holes in the masonry material. This is the process that’s credited with creating potholes in snowy, northern climates.

How can the freeze-thaw cycle affect your chimney?

If you have a masonry chimney, Sacramento’s wet winter days and freezing winter nights can lead to big problems. As water trapped within the brick, stone or mortar of your chimney freezes and expands, it can cause the mortar and brick to crumble away, or even cause the faces of individual bricks to pop off. Not only does this gradual crumbling away of your chimney cause it to look unsightly, it can prove a hazard! A chimney affected regularly by the freeze-thaw cycle can develop a leak that gives water access to the interior of the chimney and fireplace, or to the interior of your home. This will cause major water damage and rot. A continued breakdown of the chimney’s masonry due to the freeze-thaw cycle also can lead to a weakening of the overall chimney structure, eventually rendering it completely unsafe.

How can you protect your chimney from the freeze-thaw cycle?

There are steps you can take to make sure that your chimney doesn’t fall victim to the freeze-thaw cycle! A waterproofing treatment can prevent water from entering the chimney’s masonry while preserving the chimney’s ability to exhale smoke and fireplace gases. You also want to remain on the lookout for signs of freeze-thaw damage in your masonry chimney. If you notice crackled bricks or crumbling mortar, call in the professionals so that repairs can be made before minor damage develops into a major problem.

If you have noticed signs of freeze-thaw damage in your chimney, or if you would like to protect your chimney from water damage with a waterproofing treatment, call A to Z Chimney Services today! We can waterproof your chimney to keep it safe from water absorption and the freeze-thaw cycle. Additionally, we can repair any damage your chimney has already suffered. Call to schedule your appointment with A to Z Chimney Services today!