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8 Signs that Chimney Repair is Needed

Chimney RepairIt doesn’t always require the expert eye of a professional chimney sweep to see evidence that a chimney is in need of repair, which is fortunate.  Fireplace safety begins with having a sound fireplace and chimney system that is operating properly.  A damaged chimney is a hazard, and it should be repaired before using the fireplace.  If you live in SW Wisconsin, NE Iowa, or NW Illinois and see any of the following signs that your chimney is probably in need of repair, give us a call.  Keep in mind that in summer or winter, the sooner you address problematic issues, the less costly the repairs are likely to be.

1 -Stained Wallpaper or Ceiling

Moisture can get into a chimney system for a variety of reasons, and the resulting damage can be widespread.  If the wallpaper or ceiling near a chimney becomes stained, it could be because of moisture in the chimney.  In order to hopefully prevent further damage, contact us without delay; one of our technicians will determine whether there is moisture in the system and fully explain what is required for repair.

2 –Shaling

The flue lining in the fireplace is essential to the safe use of a chimney, since it protects the combustible part of the home from the heat produced in the fireplace or wood stove.  If the flue is damaged, repair is essential before using the fireplace again.  One sign that the flue may be deteriorating is when flue tiles begin to break off and fall into the hearth, which is a process called “shaling.”  We use a special camera to closely inspect the chimney liner from top to bottom, looking for cracks and evidence of serious deterioration.  Even one crack in a liner is enough to create a fire hazard.

3 –Rust

Rust on your damper or in your firebox is clear evidence that excess moisture is entering the chimney system.  The rust is actually a sign of a bigger problem; for example, the chimney crown could be cracked, allowing water to get in between the chimney exterior and the flue lining.white staining on chimney

4 –White Staining on the Chimney Exterior

“Efflorescence”is what white staining on chimney masonry is called.  It isn’t complicated to remove the stain, but the problem goes deeper than cleaning off the white residue.  Efflorescence is caused by moisture in the masonry.  If the problem isn’t fixed, the chimney will likely deteriorate rapidly.

5 –Chimney Fire

A chimney fire can cause a house fire and can cause structural damage to the chimney.  It provides evidence that the chimney should be cleaned before using the fireplace again.  The following circumstances can help you identify when there is a chimney fire:

  • Flames are visible at the top of your chimney.
  • Dark smoke is billowing from the chimney.
  • A roaring sound similar to an airplane flying nearby or a train going by comes from your chimney, and it’s loud enough that your neighbors can probably hear it.
  • It may also sound like pipes are rattling or like a loud sucking sound in your chimney.

6 –Deteriorating Mortar Joints

You may need to be on your roof to spot it, but deteriorating mortar joints are a sign that the masonry is exposed to excessive moisture.  The mortar needs to be replaced, to prevent the entire chimney from deteriorating rapidly.  The harsh winters experienced from Dubuque, IA, to Madison, WI, south to Galena, IL, and the entire tri-state area expose chimney masonry to frequent cycles of freezing and thawing, which can cause the masonry to crack.

7 –Spalling

If you see bits of masonry on the outside of your chimney, it means that moisture in the chimney system is forcing the surface of the masonry to peel off, flake off, or pop out.  Spalling masonry, whether brick, concrete, or stone, needs to be replaced in order to halt the crumbling process.  Failure to repair a chimney with spalling masonry leads to collapse of the system.

8 –A Cracked Chimney Crown

Cracked Chimney Crown

Cracked Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is a first line of defense against harsh outdoor elements.  If a chimney crown is cracked, the result can be moisture in the chimney system, leading to larger cracks.  The moisture can cause shaling, spalling, and many more types of damage in the chimney.Weatherproofing can help to protect a chimney crown and the masonry from excess moisture, possibly preventing much of the above-mentioned damage.

Our certified professional chimney technicians have the training, knowledge, and skill to perform all needed chimney repairs.  Give us a call as soon as possible, if you see any signs of the need for chimney repair.

For your Fireplace, Stove, Patio or Chimney needs
please call one of our Sponsoring Businesses.

Chimney Specialists, Inc
869 Main Street, Highland, WI 53543
(608) 929-4887

Dubuque Fireplace & Patio
925 Century Drive, Dubuque, IA 52002
(563) 582-5156

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