Summer Storms Can Damage Your Chimney
If you’re like most homeowners, you don’t think much about your fireplace during summer and even less about its chimney; but things can happen during summer to damage your chimney, mainly storms. Heavy winds can fling tree limbs and debris into your chimney, causing chimney brick cracks. Summers storms can also bring large, damaging hail that can pummel your chimney and roof. Squalls can come in off the sea with gale-force winds. Occasionally a lightning strike will leave a valley carved in the chimney. All of these natural phenomena can leave your chimney battered and cracked, making it susceptible to water. Your chimney needs to be able to withstand the rigors of a summer storm. How? Let’s look at the parts of your chimney and why they need to be inspected at least annually.
Your Chimney’s Flashing
Your chimney’s flashing is the sheet of metal that closes the gap where your chimney intersects with your roof. Regular exposure to the elements, damaging storms, and substandard installation can let water seep through cracks and damage your attic, roof deck, ceiling, as well as the chimney’s masonry structure.
Your Chimney’s Crown
The cement chimney crown tops your chimney’s whole masonry structure and is sloped to allow water to roll off your chimney. Summer weather that produces heavy rainstorms, hail, and lightning can cause damage to the cement crown allowing water to seep into the chimney and harm the masonry.
Your Chimney’s Cap
Your chimney’s cap is a metal fixture on top of the chimney that surrounds the flue opening. Chimney caps will often have a mesh screen to allow smoke and fumes to vent and keep out rodents, birds, and debris from the chimney. A chimney cap is a critical apparatus. In summer, intense rainstorms and powerful winds can loosen or tear it off completely, letting wildlife and water into your chimney and fireplace.
Masonry Cracks in Your Chimney
As time passes, your masonry chimney’s bricks become more porous from exposure to the sun and expansion and contractions, making it sponge-like; therefore, it will absorb more water. When the wicked moisture goes through the winter freeze-thaw cycle, it generates cracks in the bricks and mortar joints which causes various access points for leaks. Rain from summer storms will not only accelerate the pre-existing masonry damage but will also cause water to leak inside the chimney; eventually, it will compromise the chimney’s structural integrity.
Signs Your Chimney Has Suffered Storm Damage
How can you tell if your chimney has storm damage? Here are some signs that a summer storm has damaged your chimney.
- Your chimney cap is damaged, ajar, or gone.
- You notice brown water stains on your ceiling or walls next to the fireplace.
- White stains or discolored bricks on the exterior of your chimney.
- Pieces of brick that have crumbled and fallen on the ground next to your chimney.
- Your chimney is leaning.
- Mold or mildew smells emanating from your fireplace.
Above & Beyond Chimney Service Can Protect Your Chimney from Summer Storms
To be sure that your chimney can withstand the forces of a summer storm, it needs to be inspected to determine if it is in good shape. Let Above and Beyond Chimney Service’s twenty years of experience work for your chimney. Call us or fill out our contact form today. One of our qualified staff members will get in touch to set up an inspection of your chimney. If your chimney isn’t ready for summer storms, we can make it ready. Don’t wait until your chimney is compromised; get your chimney inspected right away.