You need to have your chimneys inspected at least once a year. This is to determine if the chimney system already requires repair or maintenance service. Only a trusted chimney repair company should be tasked to perform the inspection to ensure that problems are correctly diagnosed. Aside from having experts, a trusted service provider also has state-of-the-art tools which enables them to find any chimney issue.
Often, when an inspection is done, the first part of the chimney system that is checked is the chimney stack. The stack is the part of the chimney that is seen on the roof. The part below the roof line is called the chimney breast. Since the stack is exposed, it’s the most vulnerable part of the chimney structure. It is subjected to scorching heat during summer, wind and rain during storms and freezing temperatures during winter. Below are some of the common reasons for chimney stack repairs:
Damaged Mortar Joints
Mortar joints are what the spaces in between bricks are called. They are named as such because these gaps are filled with mortar. The joint is the part of the stack which is most prone to wear and tear. Hence, it is not surprising that the most common stack problem is damaged mortar joints.
If you look at the stack closely, the best indicator of mortar damage would be crumbling or erosion. When the deterioration is already severe, mortar is no longer present in some bricks. This should be taken as a sign that the mortar joints need repair through repointing.
Cracked Joints and Bricks
Another reason for chimney stack repairs is cracking on the joints and the bricks. The different environmental stresses cause cracks on chimney stacks. The part which is most vulnerable to cracks is the mortar in between the bricks. However, even the bricks themselves can also get damaged and develop cracks.
The cracks on the bricks can be penetrated by water vapour which may freeze if it is winter. When this happens – water vapour turning into ice, these small cracks grow into much bigger ones. The repeated freezing process can fracture the bricks and consequently, negatively affect the structural integrity of the chimney. When not addressed immediately, this problem may cause the chimney to break apart. This is not only dangerous, but it’s also quite costly to repair. When cracks on bricks become extensive, rebuilding the stack may be recommended.
Moisture and water can also damage the chimney system. Through the cracks, water can seep into the chimney system and flow down the chimney breast. The dampness caused by the water can lead to moulds building up inside the chimney and may cause illnesses in your home.
Another indicator of water damage would be spalling bricks. When moisture gets into the stack and freezes during winter, it can cause the bricks to pop out. Uneven brick faces are already an indicator of internal damage caused by moisture and water.
Internal damage on the chimney stack can also happen, specifically on the chimney stack liners. Damage on the liners can inhibit the flow of smoke. This can cause dangerous fumes to get into your home. Another sign of a damaged liner is if the chimney system gets too hot. Due to the heat, part of the internal liner may break off from the chimney system and fall into the fireplace.
The strong wind and rain due to storms can cause the chimney stack to lean towards one side. When you see this, it means the chimney structure is no longer stable. The structural instability poses a grave threat to your house. The danger in this situation is that the chimney stack can eventually collapse and damage your home. Worse, it may even hurt someone in your household. Hence, make it a habit to check your chimney stack after a storm. If it is already leaning, call a chimney repairs company right away for chimney stack rebuilding to commence ASAP.
Ensuring that the stack and other chimney parts are in tip-top condition should always be a priority. When you catch chimney problems early on and repair them immediately, you avoid having to spend on costly repairs. More importantly, you keep your family and loved ones safe.
For chimney stack repairs and other chimney problems, only trust Access Chimneys! We are a trusted chimney repair company, servicing Irish household for over 40 years. Call us now at +353 872805825.
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John is a pleasure to deal with and I highly recommend Access Chimneys to anyone looking for an excellent stove installation.
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