Your chimney is a home feature that probably gets forgotten about. If you’re lucky enough to own a working fireplace or stove, then you’re likely to light your fire during the winter and not worry about the channel that the smoke travels through. The trouble is, chimneys can get weather worn, and the signs that your chimney may not be as safe as you thought. Here are some not so obvious signs for you to look out for that indicate your chimney needs replacing.
This problem is a bit easier to spot than some of the others. Spalling occurs when moisture enters the brickwork of your chimney, and starts to force to surface of the masonry off. This can be pretty simple to spot as bits of your chimney will be falling away. If you don’t get this problem fixed, your chimney will continue to erode until the structure collapses on itself.
Moisture in a fireplace is an obvious flaw. One of the easiest ways to tell if you have moisture in your chimney is to check the damper or firebox for rust. Rusting can cause some serious problems, including causing your flue tiles to crack which in turn can be a serious fire hazard. If your flue tiles do not work as they should due to rusting, your chimney will begin to allow heat to vulnerable areas which can result in a house fire.
Damaged Mortar Joints
The mortar is what holds the entire chimney together, and is an added layer of protection against moisture damage. Unfortunately mortar damage can be hard to spot as you need to be as close as possible to your chimney to really inspect it. If your chimney has mortar damage, it exposes the bricks to moisture damage that can cause cracks. As water freezes and thaws in the bricks, it will cause the cracks to get larger. Eventually the damage will get so severe that your chimney could collapse.
Flue Tiles Coming Away
Flue tiles are one of the most important safety features your chimney possesses. They protect vulnerable parts of your chimney for excessive heat which could otherwise cause a house fire. A big indicator that your flue tiles are cracked or broken is that you will find thin slices of your chimney tile in your hearth. If you want to properly inspect your flue tiles, you will have to hire a professional chimney sweep to use lower a camera and spotlight any problems.
Cracked Chimney Crown
Checking for a cracked chimney crown is another job that requires a trip to your roof. Your chimney crown is the first line of defence against the weather, so it is important that it is in a good condition. Like the mortar joints, the chimney crown can be susceptible to cracks which grow larger thanks to water freezing and thawing in them. When the cracks become too large, moisture will start to seep into the chimney which can cause tile deterioration and spalling. To prevent cracks appearing, you should weatherproof your chimney crown, as it will also be weatherproofing your chimney as well.
Ensuring that your chimney is in top working condition is important. Staying vigilant in looking out for the signs of chimney damage reduces any risk, no matter how small, of a house fire. The best way to do this is to regularly have your chimney cleaned and inspected regularly. For any more information about the signs of chimney damage, please feel free to contact Keay Roofing on 01753 358267.