Chimney Repairs To Make Before Winter
Summer is the time for vacations, spending more time outdoors, and relaxing. However, it’s also an excellent time to catch up on household maintenance and repairs before winter arrives, particularly chimney repairs. Let’s look at the most common chimney repairs to make before lighting that first fire of the cold season.
Waterproofing or Replacing The Flashing
Chimney flashing is metal material installed where the chimney meets the roof to direct water away from seeping into the spaces where there would otherwise be a gap to prevent leaks—like masonry materials, flashing wears out over time. Summer is the perfect time for a trained chimney specialist to inspect the flashing for damage and repair or replace it. If the flashing is in good condition, it’s also wise to re-apply a waterproofing product to provide additional protection against leaks.
Tuckpointing is the process in which a professional masonry technician repairs damaged mortar joints. Over time, mortar joints deteriorate through the repeated freeze/thaw cycle. If the damage becomes too severe, it can lead to your chimney becoming unstable. Tuckpointing removes the deteriorating mortar and replaces it to shore up the bond and give your chimney a fresh look.
Besides the chimney, the firebox is often the most neglected component of your fireplace system and is typically the one in most need of repair before winter. Every season, your firebox is exposed to high temperatures and chemical reactions that break down the masonry materials, leading to poor performance and safety concerns. Like your chimney, your firebox may need repairs via tuckpointing and replacing damaged bricks to keep it running efficiently and safely.
The chimney crown is crucial in protecting your flue and maintaining a healthy, efficient fire. The crown is typically a slab of concrete that sits on top of the chimney to keep debris and critters from getting into the flue, and it’s angled to direct water away. Like all masonry materials, the crown is subject to freeze/thaw cycles, which cause it to wear down, crack, and crumble. If your chimney crown is in disrepair, you must fix it as soon as possible to prevent further water erosion and the onset of mold and mildew.
The chimney damper is a device that regulates airflow. Dampers are prone to damage from rust and constant usage. If your damper is difficult to open and close, it may need to be repaired or replaced.
Cleaning & Inspection
Finally, summer is the ideal time to schedule a thorough chimney cleaning and overall inspection. According to guidelines put out by the National Fire Protection Association, Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning. Over time, creosote builds up along the walls of the flue, which restricts airflow, allows toxic gases to flow back into the house, and puts you at greater risk of a chimney fire.
Once creosote thickens, it requires removal from a trained professional using advanced tools. During chimney cleaning, it’s wise to have your chimney professional perform a thorough inspection of every chimney and fireplace component, and summer is the best time to do this because it gives you ample time to conduct repairs if needed instead of waiting until the last minute.
Summer is the best time for chimney and fireplace maintenance and repair because most chimney service companies get busy the closer winter gets, making it challenging to schedule an appointment that’s convenient for you. Moreover, if you need repairs, they’re easier and safer to perform during warm weather.
About Mercer County Chimney Service
Mercer County Chimney Service is a trusted, licensed, full-service chimney and fireplace company serving residents throughout Hamilton, NJ, and Mercer County. Our technicians are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute. Our expert masons can repair any chimney or fireplace defects, and we also install fireplace inserts, wood stoves, and fireplaces. Contact us today to schedule a complete chimney and fireplace evaluation at 609-802-5228 or fill out our