How good is your supervision? Are you able tell if your chimney isn’t safe and sound just by looking at it? Many people can’t because they don’t possess those type of superpowers.
However, there are a few things that you can look for to make up for your lack of superhuman sight. Here’s what you should look for:
Damaged Mortar Joints
To check on the mortar joint, you might need a better vantage point to spot it. When mortar joints fail, that can mean accelerated damage to your chimney. For example, the bad joint exposes the brick in the chimney to greater amounts of moisture. When there is moisture, water gets into small cracks of the masonry that can, in turn, create larger cracks. If the problem isn’t addressed quickly, the chimney could collapse.
Rusted Damper or Firebox
If you see signs of moisture in your chimney, that should serve as a red flag that the chimney itself isn’t operating the way it should. Another sign to look for is rust on the firebox or the damper. You’ll know to take a close look at the damper if it becomes difficult to operate or if it isn’t sealing properly.
Spalling occurs when water enters brick, natural stone, or concrete and forces the surface of the masonry to pop out, peel off, or flake off. Sometimes salt also pushes outward from the inside and causes spalling. It’s fairly simple to spot spalling, since bits of masonry fall from the chimney. The ultimate outcome of failing to repair spalling masonry is continued crumbling and eventual destruction of the structure.
Shaling Flue Tiles
Did you know that thin slices of chimney tile can pile up at the bottom of a chimney? If you didn’t know that and noticed these things, the liner could be damaged. Cracked and shaling flue tiles are signs of a serious condition which, if not resolved, could result in a house fire. The flue lining of a chimney must be intact in order to safely use a fireplace. Many people today are switching to stainless steel liners, which usually carry lifetime warranties.
Cracked Chimney Crown
Another problem that requires a visit to the rooftop to spot is a damaged chimney crown. It’s important for the crown to be in good condition since it provides the first line of defense against outdoor elements. When the crown is cracked, water gets in and freezes and thaws, causing larger cracks. A damaged chimney crown allows moisture to seep between the chimney and the liner as well as into the chimney, which can cause shaling and spalling.