No home can last without diligence towards maintenance. The same goes for your chimney. It helps you to know what to expect with your chimney so you can better understand the importance of regular inspections and cleanings.
While every home is unique, there are a few commonplace issues that are the bulk of our chimney repairs in Michigan and into northwest Ohio. Here are a few of these common issues that you may have experienced before – or could experience in the future if you haven’t scheduled a chimney inspection for the last few years!
Frost Damage in Masonry
Winters in southeast Michigan are unpredictable. One day can be below zero, with temperatures rising above freezing only a day or two later. This can be a problem for any masonry – including your chimney!
While bricks are often considered to be tough and resilient, they’re also incredibly porous. When it rains or snows, moisture seeps in through these pores and stays there. Freezing temperatures freeze the moisture, causing it to expand. When it warms up, the ice melts and contracts.
This constant assault of expansion and contraction weakens the brickwork. Over time, you’ll start to notice spalling and deterioration.
Any breach in the chimney opens the door for new issues. It could lead heat out in unsafe locations or allow animals and other blockages in.
Damaged or Missing Flue Liner
Michigan is full of historic homes built many years ago. Plenty of these houses are over a century old! While older craftsmanship often holds up through the years, it’s also missing some of the modern safety features we rely on today.
One of these features are modern flue liners. They protect your chimney from:
- Leaking harmful gas
- Creosote build-up
If your older home doesn’t have a flue liner, or hasn’t had an inspection in years, it could be leading to some of the most common risks associated with chimneys and fireplaces! A new flue liner can help prevent minor or major issues, and ultimately is important to improving the longevity of your chimney.
The primary purpose of a chimney is to take the gaseous byproducts and smoke and evacuate them out of your home. Unfortunately, over time, obstructions can build.
In chimneys that are not regularly inspected and cleaned, the most common obstruction is creosote. This substance collects in your flue over time as you use your fireplace or appliance. Over time, this creosote continues to gather, restricting airflow in the flue.
While the blockage of creosote can lead to issues with ventilation, it can also ignite and open up potential risks of chimney fires.
Outside of creosote, Michigan chimneys are often the favored nesting spot for a bird known as a chimney swift. They use a special saliva to attach their nests to the inner masonry of open chimneys. While it makes a function home for these animals, it means trouble for your chimney.
The best way to prevent blockages? Keep your chimney cap in good condition! A chimney cap lets air flow out from the chimney but protects it from exterior intruders like chimney swifts and debris.
Worn Chimney Crowns & Caps
As we mentioned – weather in Southeast Michigan can be intense. Like anything, your home is subject to this constant weathering, including the top of your chimney. This area is where your chimney crown and chimney cap go. Because they’re at the top – often sticking above any other surfaces – they can’t avoid constant rain or snow.
While built to last, damage can slowly lead to breaching the defenses they bring to your chimney. A chimney crown protects the overall top of the chimney from water and debris, while a chimney cap stops water or objects from falling directly into the flue.
Without an inspection, you won’t typically recognize problems with these parts of your chimney until you start to experience symptoms. Things like mold in your chimney, leaks or the above-mentioned winged invaders will all be signals of a problem that should have been fixed months or years prior!
Need Chimney Repair in Michigan? – Call Doctor Flue!
The earlier you identify a problem with your chimney, the better! Contact us today to schedule an inspection to help keep your home safe and your fireplace ready for winter.
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