It’s easy to ignore your chimney in the heat of summer, but it won’t be long before you are firing up your chimney again, trying to stay warm in the face of another Toronto cold front. A poorly maintained chimney can cause a host of issues including a chimney fire or it can even allow deadly toxins to seep into your home. That’s why it’s so important to identify the signs that your chimney needs repairs.
Your chimney may look completely fine from the outside, but inside or upon closer inspection, there could be issues sparking up. Having your chimney checked out once a year prior to winter is a great way to ensure it is ready to go to work for you. Plus, this simple task will help keep your home and family safe and warm.
5 Signs Your Chimney is in Need of Repairs
Look out for the following signs that your chimney needs some TLC.
1. Mortar Joints are Damaged
Mortar joints run in between the bricks on your chimney and play a big role in supporting it and holding it up. Take a careful look at these joints to see if they are soft, crumbly, or falling apart. As mortar joints break down, moisture can more readily get inside of your chimney.
When too much water gets inside of your chimney, it will freeze and thaw with local weather conditions, placing undue stress on brickwork and causing cracks. In addition, more pressure is placed on brickwork. Without repairs, this will lead to much bigger problems, including the potential for your entire chimney to collapse.
2. Bricks Are Falling Out of Place
Spalling bricks, or bricks that are falling out of place, indicate some type of water damage that has accumulated over time causing masonry to peel, pop out of place, or flake off. Excess salt can also produce pressure that pushes outward from the inside and results in spalling.
Spalling is one of the easier things to pinpoint. In more serious cases, you might even notice chunks of brick on the ground around the outskirts of the chimney. If spalling is not repaired, brickwork will continue to deteriorate and crumble, until the entire structure erodes.
3. There are Cracks in the Chimney Crown
You’ll need to climb to the top of your chimney to take note of this issue. The crown must be in solid working condition because it operates as your chimney’s first line of defense. If the crown is cracked, it allows water to get inside and leads to damaging freeze/thaw cycles that’ll result in larger cracks. In addition, moisture will get into the chimney and liner, leading to shaling and spalling.
4. Falling Flue Tiles
If flue tiles are piling up in the bottom of your fireplace box, it’s a sign of shaling flue tiles. This is a serious issue that could lead to a house fire if it is not addressed. Flue tiles protect your chimney from fire because they are resistant to fire damage. If the chimney liner is not safely intact, it is a serious matter. Many people are making the switch to a stainless-steel liner because they offer added safety and often come with a lifetime warranty.
5. Rust in Your Firebox
Do you notice rust in your firebox or damper? This is a sign that excess moisture is getting in, and that’s never a good thing for the longevity of your chimney. Additional issues that often come along with a rusted firebox include cracked flue tiles, crumbly mortar and/or spalling bricks.
Leave it to the Experts
Let us help keep your family safe this winter! At Turnbull Masonry, we specialize in chimney repairs, rebuilds, and installation. Contact us today to learn more.