You may believe that your brick and mortar chimney is just about indestructible. It’s actually true that it takes a lot to cause damage to your chimney, but there are some things that can. Severe weather might cause issues, but there’s another thing that seems a lot less destructive but can, over time, cause a lot of damage, and that’s precipitation. It doesn’t really matter what form the precipitation takes, whether it’s rain, snow, or sleet. Any type of precipitation can ultimately cause a lot of damage to your chimney. You might wonder how this happens. There are actually several ways that moisture can cause a breakdown in the structure of your chimney. Just your day-to-day weathering can have a major destructive effect over time, but even worse is the freeze-thaw cycle.

snowy cabinCold Washington DC Winters

If you live in Washington, D.C., you know that the winters can get cold. When it rains or sleets or snows, that precipitation can seep into the pores of your chimney and when the temperatures drop below 32 degrees, that precipitation will freeze and expand, causing the pores to expand as well. This just leaves a bigger spot for more precipitation to sneak in, and then the cycle starts all over again. As those pores get bigger, it can cause the structure of your chimney to become unstable. This can cause some big problems, but no problems are too big for the sweeps at SirVent Chimney and Venting Service to handle. One of the problems with an unstable chimney structure is that you may be getting leaks inside your chimney and down into your fireplace.

Leaky Chimney Crown, Rusted Chimney Cap, and Loose Flashing

Another cause of leaks in your chimney might be a cracked chimney crown. Your chimney crown is designed to direct water away from the chimney and onto the roof. It is the cement piece at the top of your chimney, and it has a ridge that slopes toward the roof and overhangs the edge of your chimney by two inches so that precipitation is directed well away from the junction of the roof and the chimney. The chimney cap sits on top of the chimney crown. It’s like a little room made of grated steel sides with a slanted roof. This slanted roof directs the precipitation down onto the chimney crown. This combination of appliances works well to control leaks, but there’s one more safeguard as well, and that’s your chimney flashing. The flashing is the metal strips at the base of the chimney, covering the crack where the chimney meets the roof. These strips are layered in a way that keeps the rain away from the opening and onto the roof instead.

Get Right On It

There are several signs that your chimney is leaking. For example, if the ceiling paper or wallpaper around the fireplace is wet or soggy, or if the wood is molded or weak, it’s a good indication that your chimney is leaking. Also, if your dampers or the chimney cleaning appliances are rusted, that’s another good indication. If you notice these or other signs that your chimney is leaking.. you’ll want to call SirVent Chimney and Venting Service right away to have these leaks sealed off. The professionals at SirVent are trained in all things fireplaces, so you know that we have the latest education on all the techniques and technology that is available in the chimney sweep industry. We serve the good people in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia and we are dedicated to making sure that our clients and our neighbors are kept safe throughout the winter season.

Besides causing damage to the interior of your home and the interior of your chimney, leaks can cause damage to the very structure of your chimney. If you’ve noticed that there are flakes or chunks of white on the ground surrounding your chimney, that’s known as spalling. If there’s a white, salt-like substance on the surface of your bricks or mortar, that’s known as efflorescence. Both of these are an indication that you have moisture in your bricks and leaks might be the cause. This can cause the very structure of your chimney to be unstable, and that can be a dangerous situation. It can cause falling bricks, but it can also cause gases that should be escaping from your home to be leaking back in.

For the health and safety of your family and to keep your home in good condition, you’ll want to take care of leaks as soon as you notice that they are happening. To make sure that those leaks are taken care of efficiently and completely, the company to call is SirVent Chimney and Venting Service. We’ll get the job done right.