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chimon.jpg (37699 bytes)Is Your Chimney Falling Apart at The Seams? Water filtration contributes to the deterioration of the masonry structure of your chimney. Some of the signs of this masonry breakdown are visible from the outside- crumbling or flaking bricks, white stains, or wet spots, and cracks in the brickwork or mortar crown.
Acid from within the chimney as a result of combustion deposits and the leaves and debris on your rooftop can soften the bricks. The effect of wind on old TV antennas attached to your chimney can crack them. There can also be defects inside your chimney you can’t see, like a cracked flue liner- or no flue liner at all, in an older chimney- or nests or debris, causing an obstruction in the flue. Your chimney must vent properly to carry away dangerous gases.
Modern, high-efficiency heating systems using natural gas or oil are the main cause of condensation in chimneys. Water damage and carbon monoxide infiltration hinder your chimney’s operation. A thorough inspection can reveal how your chimney system vents, and whether you’ve got the right type and size flue for the job.
To eliminate creosote buildup, reduce fire hazards, and keep your heating system and fireplace in good condition, your chimney should be inspected at least once a year and cleaned if needed. This should be done by a qualified professional, a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep.
Many professional chimney sweepers are also proficient in other aspects of chimney maintenance. With constantly updated skills, continuing education, and the latest equipment, today’s professional sweeps are trained service technicians.
Evaluation. A chimney sweep’s evaluation is based on a thorough visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the structure. A video scan of the chimney’s interior or a smoke test may be advisable if damage is suspected of if you plan to file an insurance claim. The professional sweep informs you of any damage, deterioration, or code violation. If you ask, the sweep will provide an estimate for repairs if the repair is within the range of services provided by the company.
Cleaning. A professional chimney services company will clean your entire system thoroughly. For the fireplace, this will include not only the chimney and firebox but also the smoke chamber, the smoke shelf, and the damper. For a woodstove, a cleaning should include the connector pipe and the area above the stove’s baffle, if it has one.
Repair and Improvement Many chimney sweep companies also install UL-Listed relining systems, an economical alternative to rebuilding an outdated or fire-damaged flue. You may also choose to reline the chimney to improve the performance or safety of an existing system by resizing the flue. This is especially true of fireplace inserts and high-efficiency gas appliances.
Other Services. Most sweeps will install stainless-steel rain caps with spark-arresting screens to keep out birds, squirrels, or raccoons. These caps also prevent rain and snow from entering your chimney and can help prevent backdraft.
Many sweeps also do masonry repairs like tuckpointing and crown rebuilding. They may apply a waterproofing treatment to protect your masonry structure from the deterioration that water penetration can cause.