When it comes to knowing whether your chimney needs to be repaired, you may not necessarily be able to tell by just looking at the chimney that it isn't safe. However, there are certain signs that may be visible that will let you know that repairs are necessary. Ensuring your chimney is in tip-top shape is vital to preventing fire hazards and keeping you, your family, and your home safe. So, it is important that all homeowners with chimneys in the home be familiar with these signs of chimney damage.
Damaged Mortar Joints
Damaged mortar joints generally cannot be seen unless you have a vantage point from the top of your roof, but these can be a major issue that needs to be repaired quickly. When mortar joints fail, it often means that the chimney is at risk of accelerated damage because the bricks are exposed to increased amounts of moisture. When water gets into the cracks of the chimney's masonry, it will eventually lead to much larger cracks, especially during the winter when there is a risk of freezing and thawing. In the long run, the chimney could potentially collapse if the issue is not addressed.
Rusted Firebox or Damper
Any time that you locate signs of moisture related to your chimney, it is an indication that something is wrong somewhere. Rust is an obvious signal that there is an excessive amount of moisture, and two places that rust may be spotted are on the damper or in the firebox. If the damper is not sealing properly or it is getting hard to operate, you will want to inspect it—and there is a good chance you may find rust.
When moisture is the culprit of rust in the chimney, it can result in numerous issues like causing the flue tiles to chip or crack. If the flue lining becomes deteriorated or damaged, it can be extremely dangerous, as it could potentially let too much heat inside the home, resulting in a fire.
Cracked Chimney Crown
Another issue that requires a view from the top of the roof for you to see and identify is a cracked or otherwise damaged chimney crown. This component of the chimney must be in adequate condition because it is the first line of defense against the elements. If you have a cracked crown, water can get inside, going through the freeze-and-thaw cycle, resulting in larger cracks. If the crown is otherwise damaged, moisture can get in between the liner and chimney, resulting in spalling and shaling. The best thing you can do to prevent this from happening is to weatherproof the crown and the chimney.
For more information, reach out to a chimney repair professional in your area, such as Sposato Masonry.