Chimney Problems, Fireplace Problems, Venting System Problems, Stove or Furnace Problems?
Our chimney sweep crews help customers in towns like Glastonbury, Manchester, Hebron, Portland, South Windsor, Bolton, Andover, Tolland, and Rockville with diagnosing common chimney problems and fireplace problems.
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When it comes to your chimney system, easily recognizable symptoms are many times indicative of underlying problems. Discovering and fixing these problems is better done early on, before damage is extensive and repairs are expensive. A chimney sweep should be able to spot potential problems with a chimney inspection for a minimal cost. If the problem is obvious, it may fall into the categories listed below. Our chimney sweeps work in most all of Connecticut including Middletown, Wethersfield, Manchester, Glastonbury, Farmington, Hebron, West Hartford, Newington, Marlborough and more.
If you notice something that is not working properly or seems problematic, please call for an opinion and possibly a level one inspection. Here are just a few common problems:
Critters Love Making Themselves At Home
During the months when your chimney is not active, birds, bats, raccoons and squirrels may find your chimney a cozy place to build their homes. But when you begin to use your chimney, the blockage can cause real problems with adequate drafting and proper function. The material inside the chimney also can be tinder for an unwelcomed chimney fire which can ignite any creosote that may be lining your smoke chamber resulting in major damage.
Fireplaces That Need To Quit Smoking
Smoking chimneys can be caused by a number of things including flue obstruction, fireplace opening that is too large, inadequate air supply and drafting problems, bad construction, closed dampers, broken or damaged dampers, super air-tight homes, unlined chimneys or chimneys with gaps in the lining, height of the chimney or a number of other causes. A full chimney inspection is the easiest way to diagnose this problem.
Cracked Crowns That Are A Royal Risk
This Crown deserves the royal treatment. When the crown begins to crack or break apart it needs to be rebuilt immediately to prevent complete deterioration and deterioration of the brickwork that it protects. Crowns made from mortar are not as durable as a cement or concrete crown. Crowns should be completely covered with a chimney cap fitted to guard against weathering. Once the crown begins to open up and let water in, costly damage follows quickly.
Creosote – Dirty, Dangerous and Smelly Too
Creosote is a natural by-product of burning fuels, and it builds up inside of your chimney. This build-up is the main cause of most chimney fires. The wet creosote can also create smelly chimneys on damp or rainy days. Shining a light up or down your chimney can give a quick read, but a certified chimney sweep should really be the one that should be examining the inside of the chimney and performing cleanings as needed (generally at least once a year).
Red Paint Is Not The Answer Here
The white coating is called efflorescence. It is evidence of a serious problem with water intrusion into your chimney and seepage out to the surface of your chimney. This can mean that your chimney liner has leaks or gaps. Stains are caused by leaching salts flowing through the brick and mortar and then drying on the outside of the bricks leaving the white deposits. Removing the deposits or waterproofing the outside will not solve the cause of this problem.
Flashing Is Where The Chimney Meets The Roof
The metal flashing around your chimney where it meets the roof is the most common place leaks occur. Small leaks can be fixed with a sealant, but major gaps, rusting or missing pieces will require installation of new flashing. This type of leak will show up in the attic first, then on the ceiling around your fireplace. Usually a thorough visual inspection on the roof will detect any defects.
Nothing Like A Nice New Cap
If your chimney cap is damaged, missing or broken you are opening up your chimney system to unnecessary damage. Water leaking into the top of the chimney causes damage to the smoke chamber, liner and firebox and can rot out your damper. Pests also have an open door into your chimney and home without a chimney cap. The cap protects the crown from deterioration thereby adding protection to the masonry itself.
This Is Not Antique – It Is Dangerous
Cracks in the brick masonry and mortar on your chimney does not add character, it adds tremendous risk. The broken bricks indicate a major structural problem with the chimney, usually caused again by long term unprotected exposure to moisture. The heating and freezing cycles allow the water to break apart the actual bricks, opening up the possibility of irreparable damage and risk of fire.
Mortar Missing Means A Mess
Cracked and missing mortar weakens your chimney structure and allows water into your chimney. The damaged areas can be carefully raked out and filled or tuck-pointed with new material. The chimney needs to be without gaps or cracks to function properly and to prevent additional damage.
Spalling Spells A Serious Situation
Spalling is the condition where the face of the brick pops off, opening the interior of the brick to the elements. This happens when rain soaks into older softer brick and then freezes and thaws over many years, separating the thin face layer from the brick itself. You will see evidence of this as pieces of brick lying around the base of the chimney or on the roof.
Don’t Get Caught Without Your Lining
Many older homes most likely did not have a chimney liner when built. This allows heavy duty deterioration of the chimney itself. The exposure of the mortar to the heat of the smoke and the freezing of the weather always causes the mortar to break loose, thereby causing the bricks to fall apart as well. If the opening allows sparks, embers and high temperatures to reach dry wood areas adjacent to the chimney, a house fire will result.
Wondering Where Water Is Wandering In From?
Take a peek in your attic where the chimney goes through the roof. This is the most common entry point for water around your chimney. The evidence will be clear with dampness or stains on the chimney and rot on the wood that is next to the chimney. The leak may be in the flashing on the roof or in the liner inside of your chimney.
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