When you think about what can go wrong with your chimney, you might only think about all that soot and ash you need to clean up throughout the year. But winter is one of the greatest challenges to chimneys. Ironically, this is the season when you’d be most likely to want to gather by the warm hearth.
But by no means should you stop using your chimney. Just be prepared for how the cool, wet Atlanta winters can lead to chimney damage. These are some of the top challenges and ways you can help protect the interior and exterior of your chimney.
Your chimney is designed to handle intense heat, but it isn’t necessarily designed to handle moisture. Cool winter moisture can lead to freezes, which are followed by drier or warmer periods of thawing. The repetitive freezing and thawing cycles of Atlanta winter can cause potential damage to the chimney structure. This is particularly true if you have a traditional, brick-and-mortar chimney structure. The mortar between every brick is incredibly porous and can absorb moisture. Periods of freezing and thawing cause this mortar to erode, which can lead to dangerous, unsightly holes in your chimney walls. However, a chimney sweep can treat your chimney with waterproofing agents and install a chimney cap to prevent this damage.
Rust and Stains
Even if you have a non-brick chimney, your chimney is still in danger of winter moisture damage. Cool moisture can cause exterior stains near the top of your chimney, and the metal firebox can rust. So, what can you about this? Hire a chimney sweep to inspect your chimney before winter starts. They’ll check for any holes or cracks as well as any other signs of deteriorating mortar. If you haven’t had a chimney sweep visit your home lately, call one today to care for your chimney before winter moisture damage worsens. On a seasonable day in winter, chimney sweeps can help remove moisture spots before they stain.
The ash and smoke that builds up inside your chimney can cake the interior walls with an oily, black substance. This can happen all year-round and is a natural result of using your chimney. Part of the reason that chimney sweeps exist is that this substance, known as creosote, builds up naturally, and its removal is a regular maintenance task. But it’s incredibly important that you remove this substance before the cool, wet days of winter, particularly because something odd happens when creosote is exposed to cool moisture: it starts to stink. This foul odor can seep down through the hearth and into your home. If you notice a strong, bitter, campfire-like odor in your home, call a chimney sweep to come to remove creosote buildup.
Pests like crickets hate being out in the winter cold as much as you do, and like you, they’ll try to warm up indoors as much as possible. This can lead to cricket infestations in your chimney. Note that if moisture builds up in your chimney due to poor waterproofing, this residue can attract all manner of pests, including crickets. A mesh cap can prevent crickets, birds, rodents, and other unwanted holiday visitors from making a home in your chimney.
Call a chimney sweep the moment that you notice unusual sounds, sights, or odors like the ones listed above. A chimney sweep in Atlanta, GA, can help protect your investment and prolong the life of your chimney.