This winter there is a lot that can go wrong with even the best-made, most well-maintained chimneys. You might have your chimney system cleaned regularly and inspected before the burn season, but some unforeseen circumstances may put your chimney at risk. Winter is the worst time for your chimney. It’s in use frequently, endures both freezing and high temperatures, and homeowners go outside less during winter and may not notice changes to the structure. The problems occurring with your chimney and fireplace may not have anything to do with your chimney at all. It may be as simple as a tree branch hanging too near the flue opening and stopping the smoke from rising out of the chimney. Whatever minor problems you’re having with your chimney this fall can become a major problem as temperatures drop this winter. Let us help you protect your chimney from winter damage now.
Protect Against Animal Intrusion This Winter
Animals seek warm shelter in winter months. Even a capped chimney can be tampered with when animals become desperate in cold weather. Any animal that can get onto your roof can get into your chimney opening—even when it’s capped. It’s important to choose a chimney cap made out of quality products and designed specifically to protect the chimney against animals and weather. Talk with a New Buck chimney expert about your chimney cap today. We will make sure the cap is secure and the metal mesh is intact.
Protect Against Water Damage This Winter
Your chimney’s first defense against water damage is the chimney cap. It is the roof for the flue opening and if it is missing or damaged, rain, snow, and ice have direct access into the flue. Water damage is the worst thing that can happen to your masonry chimney, and water damage is much worse during winter months when the freeze/thaw cycle destroys masonry and requires very little water to do so. The freeze/thaw cycle is the process by which water that enters cracks and voids in the masonry freezes during low temperatures. As it freezes, the water expands and breaks the masonry apart. When the sun or the fireplace warms up the chimney and the masonry, the ice melts again, moving further into the damaged portion of masonry. This process is repeated month after month, all winter long. It’s important to prevent water damage by ensuring all parts of the system are properly installed and made of quality materials and design. Only hire a professional, certified chimney sweep to install your chimney cap, your flashing, and make repairs to your crown and masonry. For added protection, have your masonry waterproofed with an industrial waterproofing repellant.
Troubleshooting Winter Drafting Problems
Your chimney system is designed to work efficiently by using the heat from your fire to drive the smoke, gases, and particles up the chimney. When the fireplace and chimney system fails to work properly, the result may be difficult to light fire, a smoky hearth, and a rise in heating costs among other more serious problems like carbon monoxide exposure.
If you feel a draft coming from your fireplace when it’s not in use or experience difficulty with lighting and maintaining a vibrant, healthy fire, you most likely have a draft issue. This is quite common in modern homes that are built tightly. It may also be that your chimney is competing with other systems in your home which draw air from the house. Try to shut down any big systems that may be competing with your chimney, such as laundry appliances and central air systems. It may also help to crack a window in another part of the house so that your fire can continuously draw air from the home to fuel the fire and create sufficient airflow through the flue system.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), there are 100 reasons your fireplace doesn’t work and they either have to do with airflow or fireplace design. If the problems are airflow, you can usually fix this problem yourself. If the fireplace still doesn’t work properly, you may have an obstruction or a design problem—both can be dangerous hazards.
Before continuing to use your fireplace when there is an obvious problem, you should call a professional to have it checked out. Our team at New Buck Chimney Services is licensed and certified, but more than that, our technicians are experienced. They can help determine if your fireplace isn’t venting properly because of an obstruction or because of a flue-sizing issue. They can identify and correct a water’s point of entry instead of just repairing the damage and moving on. And most of all, our team is dedicated to the safety and comfort of our customers in Shreveport, Louisiana. When it’s time to schedule your services for fall, put your trust in the experts at New Buck.
Schedule by phone at 318-674-2825 or schedule an appointment online.