A fireplace adds beauty and value to your home. But while the bricks in your fireplace can last for decades, the mortar that holds the bricks together and seals any cracks between the bricks isn’t as long lasting. There are several things that can cause a weakening of the mortar in your chimney.
Moisture – A Common Culprit
One of the elements that is most likely to cause problems in your mortar is moisture – moisture that can be caused by precipitation throughout the year. According to Best Picks Reports, precipitation can cause rust, odor, and leaks, but even more problematic is the damage it can cause for your mortar as it goes through the freeze-thaw cycles. When moisture seeps into your mortar and freezes, it expands, which can cause cracks to appear in your mortar. An easy fix for this is to add a cap to your chimney or to make sure that the chimney cap you have is not in a state of disrepair.
Certain plants can also cause damage to the mortar in your fireplace, especially if your home is an older home. Climbing ivy and other plants that cling to your chimney wall can actually seek out small cracks in your mortar and infiltrate these cracks, causing them to enlarge and weaken the structure of your fireplace; this can also allow moisture to enter. Today’s Homeowner gives several suggestions for alleviating this problem, such as careful research before choosing a plant or planting non-attaching vines. However, the best defense is a good offense; the Brick Industry Association suggests having your chimney inspected and maintained regularly to be sure damage isn’t taking place.
Although most homeowners are aware that wood burning causes deterioration to their chimneys over time, many are not aware that gas-heating appliances can also cause problems. The Chimney Safety Institute of America website states that “a gas heating appliance – whether it is a furnace, boiler or even a water heater – relies on the chimney for proper venting of the exhaust.” Even though the evidence isn’t as visible as the soot that can be produced by a wood burning fire, gas-heating appliances can leave corrosive substances that can damage the mortar in your chimney. Because the damage isn’t visibly evident, homeowners may be unaware that damage is occurring. Regular inspections are a must to ensure that damage isn’t taking place.
It can be daunting to think about the problems that can occur with your mortar chimney. However, this is one problem that is easily solved. Leave it to the experts! Proper chimney inspections and maintenance by the highly qualified, CSIA certified staff of Michael’s Chimney Service is just a call away. Michael’s Chimney Service offers inspection and installation of chimney caps which can keep moisture out of your chimney. Repointing services, chimney sweeping, and chimney rebuilds are only a few of the services offered by the experts at Michael’s. Trust them for all your chimney inspection and repair needs.