Maintaining Your Masonry Chimney Will Save Money
The relatively small costs you encounter in having your masonry chimney properly maintained can pay off in a big way by preventing major chimney damage that could cost you many thousands of dollars.
As sturdy as a well-built chimney is, it won’t last forever without some periodic repairs and structural work. As the years pass, masonry chimneys begin exhibiting a variety of issues that will progress into serious damage problems if not addressed early.
What are key maintenance tasks for a chimney?
By “maintenance,” we mean service from a chimney company that’s licensed, insured and experienced in a wide range of chimney maintenance and repair projects.
Three key chimney maintenance areas include:
- Chimney inspection
- Chimney cleaning
- Chimney repair
Let’s look at each one.
Every working chimney should be inspected at least once a year by a professional chimney technician. Inspections are designed to uncover early signs of structural and component damage and to check the efficiency of the overall chimney system, including drafting and venting.
Your inspector may find small cracks in certain bricks in your chimney’s masonry and recommend having the cracks sealed or the bricks replaced. It’s a simple project that won’t cost you very much. On the other hand, neglecting the cracks could result in widespread water and structural damage down the line that will cost a lot more to resolve.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it’s very important to have your chimney properly cleaned on an annual basis. Smoke produces creosote, which is a highly flammable substance that sticks to the interior surfaces of the chimney flue and the smoke chamber (located just above the firebox).
Most chimney fires every year are caused by ignited creosote. In addition to fires, creosote can cause damage due to its acidic nature. Finally, a large buildup of creosote and soot in the flue can lead to smoke and deadly carbon monoxide backing up into your home.
Chimney repair work can be major or minor. You always want yours to be minor – and it usually will be if you schedule repairs as soon as they’re needed. Common chimney repair tasks include:
- Masonry repair/tuckpointing/brick replacement
- Chimney liner repair/replacement
- Chimney waterproofing/chimney leak repair
- Resolution of venting issues
- Chimney cap repair/installation
- Chimney crown repair/rebuilding
- Chimney flashing repair/replacement
- Firebox repair
- Smoke chamber parging
- Fireplace damper repair/installation
Winter takes its toll
Above & Beyond Chimney Service works throughout the south Boston/South Shore area in Massachusetts, and we see quite a bit of chimney damage due to the harsh winters we have. Freezing water within chimney systems expands and causes serious damage. Melting snow moves through warped flashing and results in mold and rot. High winds threaten the structural integrity of older chimneys.
But even if you live in a milder climate, your chimney can be affected by many factors including the following:
- Plain old age
- Lightning strikes
- Normal house-settling
- Faulty chimney footing
- Repeated chimney fires (often unknown to the homeowner)
- High humidity or salty air
and many others.
The solution for safety & money-savings
Every chimney service company will tell you: the best way to keep your chimney safe and efficient and save big money on repair work is with annual chimney inspections and cleaning along with timely repairs made when they’re needed.
Above & Beyond of Dedham, MA, is here to help homeowners in southern Massachusetts with licensed chimney cleaning (chimney sweeping), expert inspections covering your entire chimney/fireplace system, and all types of chimney repairs, rebuilding and restoration projects.
Speak with a chimney expert today at (781) 383-0415.