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Homestead Chimney Service Blog

Common Chimney Problems

It is common that since you do not use your chimney everyday, you may not think about the repairs that come along with it.  The worst part is that if you let these repairs go without attention they could potentially worsen and cause damage to the chimney and to your home.

The first step is to have someone who is Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified.  You also want to make sure that they are someone that they are commonly recommended, so you know their work is always solid.  For chimney assistance, contact the professionals at Homestead Chimney Service today.

What can go wrong?

Being aware of the problems that will reveal themselves over the life of your chimney will help you be preventative and save money.

Being aware of the problems that will reveal themselves over the life of your chimney will help you be preventative and save money.

Even though you do not want to think about it, there are many things that can go wrong inside of your chimney that may look small and turn out to be big problems.  One of the main things is the water that can enter your home and cause mold to form.  If you live in an area that has extremely wet weather you will have to pay closer attention.  If your flashing becomes loose, cracked, or missing a professional may be able to caulk it is caught in time.  If not, it may need replacing.

Also, the bricks of the chimney can become cracked and a great place for water to collect.  Your technician will be able to examine the damage and figure out the proper way to fix it.  Lastly, they may suggest that you have a chimney cap installed to protect from water, animals, and debris.

After your chimney is fixed a water test it needed to see if any water is still absorbing into the unit, and if so you will probably be suggested to have it waterproofed.  Any experienced professional can do this in a day.  The sealant spray used will need at least six hours to dry so make sure you pick a day that has a dry forecast.

What happens if the repairs are not fixed?

Other than becoming a bigger issue in the chimney, the effects could eventually harm your entire home.  The mold that grows in the chimney can spread to the foundation of your home and the air you breathe.  Also, other broken parts or chimneys that have not been cleaned properly can start an unwanted fire. The best way to avoid these kinds of problems is to ensure regular maintenance to your chimney.


Moisture Causes Mold

Let’s Talk Mold

As you may already know, water is your chimney’s biggest enemy. It can cause structural damage by getting into your bricks and mortar, rusting and corrosion damage to your chimney parts, and, even more dangerous, mold spores to grow inside your chimney walls. When mold begins growing inside your chimney, it spreads quickly, entering your home, causing illness to you and your family. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a guide to mold, moisture, and your home, and they recommend the best solution for ridding your chimney from mold is having a professional chimney sweep performed on your chimney by a Chimney Safety Institute of America-certified chimney sweep like Homestead Chimney Services. We want to highlight the main points from the EPA guide so you can know for certain if you do have mold in your chimney.

Mold can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory problems.

Mold can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory problems.

  • Why is mold growing in my chimney? If you do not have a properly fitted chimney cap on top of your chimney, you are getting both leaf debris and water in your chimney. Mold spores can be on the leaf debris, and the cool, damp environment of your chimney is the perfect atmosphere for mold growth.
  • How do I know mold is growing in my chimney? The obvious tell-tale sign is a dusky, dank smell coming from your fireplace. You may notice yourself or other family members feeling sick. If the mold has spread, you may be able to see the mold around your fireplace on the bricks, or even on the walls around the fireplace.
  • Can mold cause health problems? For those with asthma, mold can cause serious breathing problems, and if someone has mold allergies, he or she can become very sick. Mold produces allergens, breathing irritants, and in some instances, toxic substances like mycotoxins. Allergic reactions include hay fever symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and a skin rash. If someone has a lung disease, the effects of mold can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
  • How do I get rid of the mold in my chimney? Your first step to getting rid of the mold is to schedule a professional chimney sweep from Homestead Chimney Services as soon as you know mold is growing inside your chimney. We will come to your home and professionally remove the mold along with creosote build-up and soot in your chimney. The next step is preventing the mold from coming back. Our technicians can inspect your chimney cap and replace it if it does not fit to keep debris and water out. We can also look at your chimney’s ventilation system to ensure proper ventilation is happening. You may need flue liner repair to protect your chimney walls. We at Homestead Chimney Services are experienced in all of these repairs and can get your chimney serviced to be completely mold-free.

Mold in your home is never a pleasant thing to endure, and chimney mold can enter your house and spread quickly if you are not prepared to deal with it as soon as possible. If mold gets into the walls of your home, you will have costly repairs of replacing dry wall, insulation and even duct work. Proper maintenance of your chimney is your best prevention, and having an annual chimney sweep and inspection go a long way in protecting your family from the dangers of mold. Contact us at Homestead Chimney Services today to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweep.

Common Chimney Repairs

Nothing Lasts Forever

Every chimney repair call we get at Homestead Chimney Service is different — chimneys are complex systems to start with, and every home has its own characteristics and idiosyncrasies and experiences that can lead to a problem that needs fixing.

But there are a few things that are common to every chimney system — the constant onslaught of weather and sun, the effects of time and home settling — that make certain repairs more common than others.

Sometimes, parts of your chimney can be repaired if noticed early enough. There are times though, when performance and safety demand replacement parts.

Sometimes, parts of your chimney can be repaired if noticed early enough. There are times though, when performance and safety demand replacement parts.

Curious about whether your issue might have something to do with a common repair need? Here are a few of the most common chimney repairs we do here at Homestead.

Chimney Crown Repair and Resurfacing

When you consider the direction that precipitation and baking sun-rays are traveling, it seems pretty safe to assume that any chimney part directly in line with that would get a pretty good and consistent beating. And your poor chimney crown, horizontal at the top of your flue, does indeed get a healthy share of the effects of heat and moisture. It’s not uncommon for cracks or spalling to result. Depending on the extent of the damage, Homestead techs can resurface, repair or rebuild a crown so that it’s able to effectively move water away from your flue and masonry again.

Chimney Cap Replacement

Another part at the front lines of weather abuse, the chimney cap is a small but very necessary part of your system, helping to keep moisture and animals from getting into your flue. Galvanized caps can rust, improperly sized or installed caps can fail and even well-made chimney caps can get damaged or lost in particularly bad storms. Our technicians can install a great cap that’ll do its job through years of use.

Chimney Damper Replacement

A stuck, rusty or otherwise damaged throat damper gives us two logical options: repair, if possible; or replacement with a new top mounted damper. The latter has marked benefits — these contribute to a serious increase in energy efficiency, which saves fuel and money, and since top mounted dampers also close off the top of the flue completely with a gasket (instead of partially closing with a metal plate down in the throat), you’re also getting great water protection.

Flue Liner Repair and Replacement

A damaged flue liner usually results in impeded draft, impeded safety and often accelerated damage to your chimney, too. We use HeatShield flue liner repair products to bring damaged clay tile liners back to a whole and smoke-tight state.

Chimney Repointing 

When mortar joints crack and recede, your system is opened up to increased moisture intrusion and decreased stability. By repointing — removing damaged mortar joints and replacing them with fresh joints — we can strengthen your chimney again.

Do you want to know more about Homestead Chimney’s repair services? Just give us a call — we’re always glad to offer information, help and impeccable service!

Keep Water Out

Our chimneys are probably one of the most taken-for-granted parts of our homes.  It’s one of those things that often remain out of sight and out of mind.  We enjoy sitting by a blazing fire during the winter months, we keep the fireplace and hearth clean, and we even hire a professional to periodically come out and clean the inside of the chimney; however, not very many of us give much thought to keeping our chimney’s exterior in tiptop shape.  If you’re guilty of this, don’t be ashamed.  It’s time to look at the condition your chimney is in, get it repaired if necessary, and coat it with a chimney-waterproofing product.

When rain is not diverted from your chimney, it can wreak havoc on your masonry. This is, without a doubt, a safety issue.

When rain is not diverted from your chimney, it can wreak havoc on your masonry. This is, without a doubt, a safety issue.

The materials used to build most masonry chimneys experience hastened deterioration as a result of prolonged exposure to and contact with water.  The freezing and thawing process—during which time water that has penetrated the various chimney materials freezes and expands—quickly deteriorates the overall construction of your chimney.

Water in your chimney can also cause rust on steel and cast iron parts, ultimately weakening or destroying them.  The exterior of your chimney is constantly getting battered from the weather.  Harsh weather conditions can have a negative effect on your chimney.  In addition, when water mixes with the creosote that is often present in a wood-burning fireplace, it will generate an extremely unpleasant odor that can fill your entire home.  All of these things combined greatly compromise the overall structure of your chimney as a whole.  By waterproofing the chimney, it will repel damp elements—snow and rain—rather than allow them to penetrate the brick or other materials.

As you can see, there are many issues that can develop as a result of water being on and getting in to your chimney, and, as such, swift and immediate action should be taken to ensure that you’re not faced with unnecessary and avoidable repairs bills.  Remember though, waterproofing is only a preventive measure.  If your chimney is already damaged (i.e., it has gaps, voids, cracks, missing mortar, etc.), it should be repaired before any waterproofing agent is applied.  Your chimney’s exterior may also need to be cleaned by a chimneyprofessional before the waterproofing material can be applied.  However, taking all of these steps can help confirm that both the water outside won’t enter your house through thechimney and you are able to enjoy your fireplace for many years to come.