The southern United States receives a lot of rain. From afternoon thunderstorms to hurricanes, Southerners are very used to wet weather. However, many people don’t think about the effects that rain can have on their chimneys. Unfortunately, water damage can wreak havoc on masonry, or brick, chimneys.

Two ways to prevent water from damaging your chimney are a sealant and a chimney cap.

Sealant for Masonry

Many chimneys are made of brick. Brick chimneys are constructed of a variety of masonry and metal materials. These chimneys are made from mortar, brick, concrete, stone, flue tile, steel, and cast iron. All masonry chimneys contain some combination of these materials. Unfortunately, some of these materials can be damaged from exposure to water.

All the materials, except the stone, deteriorate faster as a result of prolonged contact with water. Typically, masonry is quickly damaged when repeatedly exposed to freeze-thaw stages. This is when water that has seeped into the materials freezes and expands, causing stress on the brick and other materials.

Also, water in the chimney can cause rust on the steel and cast iron. Rust weakens or destroys the metal parts.

A sealant can stop water from getting into your chimney. A sealant is a waterproof coating that blocks water and protects the brick. Applying a sealant will stop water from ruining your brick chimney.

Chimney Caps

At the top of the chimney is a chimney cap. This can also be called a rain cover. This is one of the least expensive ways a homeowner can prevent water from damaging the chimney.

Chimney caps act as a barrier against water. The seal the opening of the chimney to make sure that no water can enter the flue. Chimney caps protect against leaks and water damage inside the chimney.

Chimney caps are an important part of chimney safety and damage prevention.

There are a few ways to seal chimneys. Preventing water from entering the chimney is an easy way to make sure it lasts a long time. Your local chimney experts at Sootmaster are here to help. We can make sure your sealant and chimney cap are working perfectly. Call today to schedule an inspection.

chimney cap

Caps, Covers, & Damper Repairs

Living in the south, mainly along the Gulf Coast, then you know there are lost of rain storms. Actually, we get more rain than anywhere else in the country, including Seattle. The ranking of the most amount of rainfall goes as follows: Mobile, Pensacola, and Seattle in 41st.

This region has such a big deal about rain when it comes to chimneys and fireplaces. As the Chimney Safety Institute of America explains, “water, not fire, causes most chimney damage.”

“Whether masonry or factory-built,” says the CSIA, “prolonged water exposure can result in cracks or gaps in chimneys where creosote can collect and increase the risk of fire or where noxious gases can escape into your home and expose your family to carbon monoxide.”

Fireplaces, Chimneys and Leaks

In basic terms the problem with fireplace and chimney leakage is that water combines with the creosote that remains from fires to form an acidic mixture. Over time that mixture can eat out the silica in the mortar joints.
Once the joints are no longer secure, moisture — remember all that Gulf Coast rain — can get into the house through the chimney. For example, if water comes in through the chimney and is released under the shingles it can lead to the need for a roof replacement.

Also, without proper sealing, heat from fires can travel into areas which should not be exposed to heat, dry out wood, and in some cases actually cause the wood to catch on fire.

In fact, according to a staff report by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about 22,000 fires a year which are associated with fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors. Such fires can cause substantial damage and in some cases may lead to fatalities.

Also, without caps it does happen that birds and animals get into fireplaces. Sometimes nests are built and in some cases animals unable to get out die inside chimneys and fireplaces. Noises and odors can result from such problems.

Caps, Covers and Dampers

You can protect your household with caps, covers and dampers. Caps with spark arresters are devices that go over the flue. They keep out both moisture and animals, plus they help prevent sparks from leaving the chimney. Covers are at the top of the chimney, go around the flue, and protect against moisture. Dampers are inside the chimney itself. They can help create a proper draft to achieve the best fire, plus when closed they prevent animals from getting into the house.

Cap, Cover and Damper Services

We can install, repair and maintain caps, covers and dampers. We inspect such devices as part of our basic chimney sweep services. We have many devices in stock and can recommend the equipment which is right for your fireplace and chimney, whether it is masonry or metal, new or historic.

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