Winter is tough on chimneys.
Rain, snow, and freezing temperatures take a harsh toll on the structure itself and cause common winter problems with the system. Here are the four most common problems related to chimneys during Winter.
Problem one: Cold air is coming through the fireplace
This is a common complaint from homeowners. Cold air coming through your fireplace can give your home an uncomfortable draft. It will also drive up your heating bills.
Typically, the cause of this air is the chimney’s damper not working properly. The damper is supposed to close securely and prevent air from entering above and descending below. A top-sealing damper will help reduce the cold air downdraft better than the traditional damper.
If it’s been a while since your chimney was cleaned, creosote can build up on it and eventually prevent the damper from closing properly. Dampers can also warp or become rusted over time which may prevent them from closing properly.
A cold draft moving through the house in winter is very uncomfortable. ChimneyTEK can help diagnose why your damper is closing and fix the problem.
Problem two: Smoke transfer
Some homeowners will see or smell smoke in other parts of their house when they have a fire in the fireplace.
This is a bad sign and it’s also dangerous.
Gaps in or between the chimney tiles allow smoke to seep out of the flue, rather than travel up and out of the home. Sparks may also transfer and ignite any combustibles.
Another indication of gaps in the tiles is a poor draft. If the outside air is entering the flue, it can be difficult to establish an updraft. This is like water passing through a straw with holes in it. The straw, or the chimney, won’t work properly.
Problem three: Water damage to your chimney
Winter’s cycle of freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw can cause real problems for your chimney.
Both the chimney’s bricks and mortar have pores that take in precipitation throughout the course of the year. During Winter, the pores absorb snow and rain which then expands within the bricks and mortar when the air is cold enough for this water to freeze. Over time, this continual expansion can result in structural damage to your chimney.
Fortunately, chimneys don’t leak during the Winter. But they will start to leak when the weather warms.
Problem four: Animals gain entry to your chimney
During the winter months, a variety of animals may enter your chimney seeking warmth, a place to sleep, or a place to nest.
Although people call us because animals are messy and annoying it is important to know that they can also be bad for your health. For example, when a birds may carry an airborne disease called histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis can make you and your family very sick.
If you notice signs of nesting in your chimney, or if you hear animal noises or scratching, animals may be nesting in your chimney. Contact ChimneyTEK and we can come out to assess the situation.
If you have concerns about any of these classic Winter problems, contact ChimneyTEK for a mid-Winter audit. We can help put your mind at rest by tackling any of these issues.