Few things sound as terrifying to homeowners as mold. It invades your home and can cause damage to your property and your health! While mold is most commonly associated with basements, chimney mold is another potential risk for homes both new and old.
In many cases, homeowners won’t even realize they have chimney mold until it’s grown for months! Learn the answers to common questions about chimney mold and what you can do to protect yourself.
What Causes Chimney Mold?
Mold is only caused by one thing: moisture. It requires moisture to grow and it will continue to do so as long as there’s any source nearby. Chimneys are especially vulnerable to moisture from several factors:
- Spalling or cracks in the masonry
- Damage to the exterior of the chimney
- Deteriorated chimney cap
- Lack of a chimney cap
Any of these issues can make your home’s chimney a perfect hiding spot for mold! It’s surprising to many, but bricks are porous by design. If not properly waterproofed, they can trap enough water for mold to live for months at a time.
Is Every Home at Risk for Chimney Mold?
Yes. Chimneys, like any part of your home, require consistent maintenance over the years. Even in climates where the humidity is perpetually low, mold can find its place. Mold loves dark, inactive spaces where it can quietly thrive and multiply as widely as its source of water will allow.
If your chimney is rarely used or has poor ventilation, you have a perfect environment for mold. It’s only a matter of time before enough moisture builds up to allow mold to take hold.
That said, the homes that are least likely to develop mold are those that schedule regular chimney inspections. As masonry wears and chimney caps sustain weathering damage, an inspection will catch the breaches in your chimney that allow mold to encroach into your living space.
How Do I Get Rid of Mold in My Chimney or Fireplace?
For most homeowners, chimney mold will be hard to conquer alone. The primary issue is that mold typically grows out-of-sight. You won’t even know it’s there until the odor becomes apparent. Chimneys are cramped, tall spaces that require specialized tools to clean. If mold is in the middle of the flue, it’s difficult and dangerous for you to try to clean yourself.
That said, if mold appears in easy-to-reach places, it’s quite simple to remove. You can use a rag to wash away the physical mold, and then bleach to help sterilize the surface it was on. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the end of a mold problem.
If the source of moisture remains, the mold will grow back – especially as you likely weren’t able to get to bits of mold inside the pores of the brick or cracks in the mortar.
The only way to truly rid yourself of mold is to repair the problem that’s allowing moisture to feed it in the first place.
What Are the Best Ways to Protect My Home from Chimney Mold?
There are two key steps in preventing chimney mold:
Install or Replace Your Chimney Cap
If your chimney cap is damaged, or if you don’t have one, it’s worth the small investment to install a new one. Not only do chimney caps protect the flue from taking on heavy water, it helps keep debris, animals and other annoyances out of your chimney (and your home!)
Schedule Annual Inspections
If your home has a chimney, even if you don’t use the appliance it’s attached to, you need to have annual chimney inspections. Besides the potential for harmful mold, damaged chimneys can lead to fires, home damage and more.
Without the right tools and experience, a homeowner won’t be able to identify the potential risks with their chimney. If you can’t remember the last time you had your chimney inspected, give Doctor Flue a call!
Avoid Mold in Your Michigan or Ohio Chimney – Call Doctor Flue!
We can inspect and repair your fireplace, stove or chimney to fix any problem! Contact us today to schedule an inspection to help keep your home safe and your fireplace ready for winter.
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