It smells.  It grows in random places.  It can put your health and home in danger.  What is this you ask?  Chimney mold.  Too often homeowners with fireplaces and chimneys hear the news that this fungus has overtaken their unit.  However, if it is taken care of in a timely manner, there can be little damage done and prevention for future circumstances.  To find out how your chimney can be mold free call the professionals at New Buck Chimney Sweep, where they can take care of your chimney sweeps and inspections.

What is chimney mold?

Even though we rarely get snow in Louisiana, our chimneys are still vulnerable to mold growth. Keeping excess water out is key.

Even though we rarely get snow in Louisiana, our chimneys are still vulnerable to mold growth. Keeping excess water out is key.

Chimney mold is no different than any other type of mold that you would find anywhere else.  However, if this mold is left long enough it will slowly absorb into your home and its foundation.  Mold is formed by a collection of water that is not dried properly and can begin to grow and spread in as little as 24 to 48 hours.  You should always have an experienced technician check for mold.  This is because the untrained eye could easily miss the sighting of mold due to its various colors and textures.  It is recommended that you have one of these checks annually with your inspection.

How do I get rid of my chimney mold?

To get rid of the mold, you must first figure out where it began to grow.  Start by checking anywhere water may collect, which is usually a crack in the chimney or the flue where precipitation collects.  To check for one of these places and its location, you can do a controlled water test.  A test like this should be done on a dry day and the water should be sprayed in small sections of the chimney.  As it dries watch where the water goes and how long it takes to get inside of the chimney.

Damaged flashing can also cause water leaks.  Flashing is a group of metal strips that form layers where the chimney and roof meet.  Over a period of time, the flashing may become weathered or loose.  Any experienced chimney technician can replace or repair the flashing if needed.

If the area of mold is smaller than a 3-foot square, it is technically safe for you to remove yourself.  However, it is still recommended that you call a technician for your safety.  Make sure that if you are the one removing the mold you cover up and stay as far away as possible.  Lastly, make sure the entire patch of mold is removed so there are no chances of it coming back.

If chimney technicians come to the home, they will check the exterior and see if it has spread into the home.  If so, pieces of the wall may have to be removed.  They will then issue you a level three chimney sweep as a check up for the alterations that had been made.  It is common that you have anything valuable moved away from the chimney and some of the close furniture pushed back.  Also, lock up any pets you may have for their safety and for the safety of the technicians.  It is extremely important that you do not burn any fires for at least 24 hours before the appointment so the area is cooled down enough for technicians to work.

How can I prevent mold from growing in my chimney in the future?

While you cannot prevent mold 100 percent, you can reduce the chances of it finding its way into your home.  The most popular way of voiding mold is to waterproof your chimney.  Technicians will come out to your home and clean the chimney to remove anything that could potentially cause mold.  Next, they will apply the first layer of the repellent.  If you live in an extremely wet climate, your chimney may require multiple coats, which can be applied every six hors or more.  You should always pick a dry day to have this applied and not begin until the chimney has had at least 24 hours to be completely dry.

You can also install a chimney cap.  These are inexpensive, productive, and recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. (CSIA) If you suspect that you have mold growing in your chimney, do not hesitate to call for help.