The chimney is definitely one of things that you don’t look at that often, mostly because of distance and location, it is sometimes not easy to see.
You do want to change this, chimneys are a long way from being just some black hole sticking out the roof, they play a vital part in the harmony of the house.
A simple fact in Canada is unfortunately your chimney will deteriorate and that is not a matter if it will but a matter of when it will. This is mostly due to the freezing and thawing in our winters.
Other conditions that affect chimneys are animals making your warm chimney their home, such as birds, bats, squirrels and raccoons. These characters are hard to remove and could cause a fair amount of damage the inside of your chimney especially racoons.
What is a chimney made of?
The more common components that make up a chimney are usually brick, chimney flue tile, concrete brick, mortar, stone or metal. All these components to some degree are affected by our weather (here in Canada) and do deteriorate. Some materials more than others.
All masonry chimney production materials, besides stone, will go through extended deterioration because of prolonged contact with water. Masonry substances become worse when moisture that has penetrated the mortar and the brick periodically freezes and expands inflicting undue strain that leads to joint deterioration and spalling brick. The flashing (metal around the base of your chimney to prevents leaks through the roof) around your chimney also rust. Though stone is not that affected by the above process the mortar joints are which leads to the chimney being fixed or even redone.
What Happens inside your Wood Burning Chimney
When water mixes with creosote in a wood burning chimney flue, it’ll generate a pretty disagreeable odour that may permeate a home. If your chimney isn’t cleaned on a regular basis the creosote builds up and depending how bad the buildup gets sparks from a fire could ignite a chimney fire.
Prevent Water Leakage
Chimneys usually being the highest point on your house it is wide open to the elements especially the rain which if the downpour is severe enough could result water coming in the chimney and leaking into the house. The simple solution is a Rain Cap or also called a Chimney Cap, these are good at prevent large quantities of rain and snow entering in the flu. Plus you can go one step further and buy one with a screen and it will additionally prevent animals entering your chimney.
Flashing is the seal between the roofing material and the chimney. Flashing prevents the rainwater & melting snow from leaking into the house through the roof. This should be in good condition as it is really the only seal between your chimney and your roof.
It may not be easy to inspect the exterior of your chimney but when possible, it should be done.
Most chimneys are built with masonry brick and unfortunately it will deteriorate. You could have spalling brick or mortar joints that need to be tuckpointed. The early chimney problems are detected the better it is and the less it costs.
Damaged Chimney Crown
The chimney crown (also known as the chimney wash) is the is the concrete cap on top of a masonry chimney. It covers and seals the top of the chimney from the flue liner to the chimney part. The crown is made with a downward slope so as to direct the water from the flue so most of the water dripped harmlessly on the roof and prolongs the erosion of the chimney.