How Freeze & Thaw Cycles Damage Your Chimney
We’re all familiar with how extreme winter conditions can get here in areas around New Jersey and the havoc it can wreak. Try avoiding all of those potholes on the roads once spring arrives, and you know what we’re talking about.
And with extreme temperatures and precipitation, chimney damage – like a leaky chimney – is practically unavoidable. So, how do the thawing and freezing cycles damage your chimney, and what can you do about it? Read on and find out.
How Freezing and Thawing Damages Chimneys
Masonry materials are naturally porous, which means the bricks and mortar joints absorb water, especially if your chimney isn’t protected.
This cycle begins when your masonry absorbs small amounts of water either through rain, snow, or even sprinklers.
So, when the temperature dips below freezing, it causes the water in the masonry to freeze and expand. This expansion puts pressure on the bricks and joints, causing small cracks to form — it’s the same process that causes potholes every winter.
Over years of freezing and thawing, the cracks grow larger and eventually lead to structural damage like cracked bricks and loose mortar joints.
This damage leads to a host of problems for the homeowner and if left untreated, can compromise the entire chimney, requiring that you rebuild it.
Signs of Chimney Damage
Now that you know what the freezing and thawing cycle does to your chimney, let’s look at how to spot the early warning signs of damage, so you can call a professional for repairs before things get out of hand.
Cracked or Deteriorating Mortar Joints
Once the mortar joints become compromised, the issue will only worsen over time if you don’t fix it as soon as possible.
Cracks in the joints allow smoke and heat to escape the chimney in places where it shouldn’t. And, in the worst-case scenario, this damage can lead to the chimney becoming unstable causing it to lean.
As mentioned, bricks are porous like mortar, and once moisture gets in and freezes, the havoc begins and will break the bricks apart, which is called spalling.
Like cracks in the mortar joints, spalling allows moisture to seep into the chimney, causing further deterioration to the masonry, and leaks, which lowers your chimney’s efficiency and increases the risk of fire.
The best protection you have against chimney damage is to hire a professional chimney service company for annual inspection and maintenance.
Your chimney professional will inspect every part of your chimney — inside and out — to identify minor problems, so you can repair them before they escalate.
How To Protect Your Chimney From Freeze/Thaw Effects
The bad news about freezing and thawing is that it only takes a few seasons for the damage to get out of control.
So, what can you do?
The most important thing you can do to protect your chimney is by hiring a professional chimney sweep for annual chimney inspections.
An inspection conducted by a certified chimney technician uncovers minor winter damage on the chimney’s interior and exterior, such as the beginning stages of spalling and cracks in the mortar joints.
These annual inspections allow you to make timely repairs to stop the effects of freezing, avoid costly repairs or rebuilds, and extend the lifespan of your chimney.
Mercer County Chimney Service is a trusted, full-service chimney company located in Hamilton, NJ, serving residents throughout Mercer County.
We want to be the only chimney repair and maintenance company you’ll ever need to call and we offer a comprehensive list of services, including:
- Chimney and fireplace sweeping
- Chimney and fireplace inspections
- Tuckpointing and masonry repair
- Air duct cleaning
- Gas fireplace cleaning
- Dryer vent cleaning
- And more!
To safeguard your chimney against freezing and thawing effects and to extend its lifespan and efficiency, call us at 609-802-5388 or fill out our online form.