Despite several reminders, are you still tempted to postpone the annual inspection of your fireplace? This regular maintenance is highly important for safety purposes. If you cannot help but delay, these clear signs of wear must urge you to contact a qualified expert as soon as possible.
Harsh weather conditions such as snow, wind, ice, and rain, can wreak havoc on chimneys. The mortar is especially vulnerable because it is not as durable a material as the masonry. Mortar typically lasts a maximum of 25 years before it begins to crumble. If the mortar isn’t replaced, moisture gets into the masonry. In wintertime, the moisture expands and contracts, causing the bricks or stone to break and flake off. As a result of damaged mortar together with broken masonry, structural integrity is lost. The chimney can begin to lean and will even collapse, if not repaired in time. Not only could a collapsing chimney injure someone, it is very expensive to repair.
White staining is a strong signal that something is wrong with the chimney system and you must act quickly. The cause is excess water as well as salt in the masonry and soluble solutions move through the masonry and evaporate on the exterior. The result is a deposit of salt residue. At first, the salt is a crystallized or powdery substance on the stone, brick, or block masonry. Eventually, if not removed, the staining begins to look fluffy or fuzzy.
Called “efflorescence,” this staining can also be green, yellow, or brown. The color depends upon the type of compound in the masonry. Not all masonry chimneys will experience staining, even if there is moisture in the system, because they don’t have any soluble salt in them.
The easiest of the messy problems to notice is when black soot stains the chimney above the fireplace. The stains are obviously caused by a smoky fireplace, but getting to the cause of the problem is not so easy. There are many different potential causes of a chimney that doesn’t draw combustion products outside adequately. In addition to causing unsightly stains, the toxic fumes in the home can be dangerous. Respiratory problems can be caused by the smoky fireplace. A clogged chimney flue could lead to spread deadly carbon monoxide into your house.
If you notice these clear signs of wear, you must contact a qualified expert who will outline the steps to be taken. Your local We Love Fire dealer will be pleased to answer your questions.