Do you have gaps in your mortar? This type of occurrence is a common issue over time, even in well-made chimneys. Spalling is a broad term used to describe masonry damage. Cracks in concrete, potholes on roadways—these are examples of spalling. Your chimney is affected by weather in the same way. Masonry is porous, but this makes it susceptible to damage over time, and this damage can put your home in danger if it isn’t corrected.
How the Chimney Works
Your chimney works because of the science of airflow. Heated air rises up the chimney and escapes any way that it can. The porous properties of masonry allow for the gases to escape easily, allowing vapors to pass through the masonry. These vapors and gases are harmful, so it’s important that they’re vented out of the house, and the chimney is designed in a specific way to allow this. Each part of the chimney system has a job to do. The damper can help light a fire, control a flame, and open or close the flue. The cap prevents weather and animals from entering the top of the flue. The flashing and crown protect the rest of the chimney exterior from water penetration. The most overlooked part of the chimney system is the flue liner because it is hidden from view.
The Flue Liner
The flue liner is like your skin. It is an important layer of protection within the chimney system. Besides the masonry itself, it is the largest part of the system, and it also affects everything. The liner’s smooth surface promotes airflow through the chimney system. Its durability protects the masonry from corrosive chemical byproducts that cling to its surface. It prevents heat from transferring to building materials and flammables in the home. The liner also keeps the toxic gases in their place—venting up and out of the house, protecting from smoke inhalation, respiratory distress, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Mortar Gaps and Your Liner
If your chimney has spalling masonry including mortar gaps and cracks, your family may be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning. There is no way for you to tell if your family is exposed unless you call a professional to check out your flue liner. Why does your liner matter? Your chimney may have a clay tile liner, which means that every tile is laid next to the other. The space between the clay tiles can allow toxic gases and high temperatures through the space left by the damaged mortar, creating a carbon monoxide or fire risk. Clay tile liners are safe and effective. Masonry is safe and effective. When the two aren’t maintained properly or repaired promptly, the result can be dangerous and costly.
Prevention is Key
When you schedule your annual chimney inspections, as recommended by industry professionals, homeowners insurance providers, and the national fire safety standards, you will not be surprised by chimney damage or dangers. The best way to prevent a problem such as spalling masonry or chimney liner issues is to have an inspection by a qualified professional.
New Buck Chimney Services inspects chimneys, relines chimneys, repairs masonry, and more. Call us today and find out what we can do for you.