Chimneys are sturdy structures, built to last the test of time. They are made of brick and mortar and can stand strong and true through wind, rain, lightning, hail, or snow. However, the winters can get cold and snowy, and that’s why it’s so important that your chimney continues to be in tip-top shape. After spending a day out in the cold and snow, there’s nothing that’s better than settling down in front of a warm, crackling fire, so a Colorado fireplace gets used a lot. That’s why it’s so important that you have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned regularly. You should also keep an eye out for any areas that might be trouble spots.
In fact, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you have your chimney inspected on at least a yearly basis. When you hire the crew at Chimney Doctors of Colorado to come in and clean your fireplace, we’ll take care of all the creosote that has built up. We’ll make sure your chimney is cleaned and ready to go for the next time you want to build a fire and get all cozied up! But there are other things that we’ll be looking for as well.
If there’s one thing that you really need to look out for, it’s chimney leaks. This is important because leaks can cause serious damage if left undetected and unrepaired. When we come in to do a chimney inspection and cleaning, we pay special attention to vulnerable areas. These areas include your chimney cap, chimney crown, the flashing, and the interior of your chimney. At Chimney Doctors of Colorado, we do three levels of chimney inspection.
A Level One inspection means we’ll just take a look at all the easily accessible areas of your chimney. If you have your chimney maintained on a regular basis, this level is all you’ll need.
A Level two inspection involves a more in-depth look into the chimney with a video camera. This will occur if:
- we suspect that there is more damage,
- you haven’t had your chimney inspected in a while
- you’re selling your home or buying a home with a chimney
- you suspect that a chimney fire may have taken place.
If we find damaged areas, we’ll do a Level Three, where we actually take apart parts of your chimney to get to these areas.
There are things you can look for as well that might indicate that you have a leaky chimney. For one, if you notice rusty streaks down the inside of your chimney, you could very well have a leak. An obvious sign of a leak is water that has pooled in the firebox. This type of leak might mean that your chimney crown is cracked and that precipitation isn’t being directed away from going down the chimney. It might also mean that your chimney cap is rusted through and needs to be replaced, or that the flashing at the base of the chimney is torn, rusted, or loose.
Efflorescence and Spalling
Another area that might be causing leaks is the actual mortar and bricks that make up your chimney. Efflorescence is one of those signs. If you look closely at the exterior of your chimney, you may notice spots of sparkly, almost salty-looking, grainy areas on the bricks. This is called efflorescence, and it is an indication that salt and water that are on the interior of your bricks and mortar are seeping out. This is a troublesome sign because it means that your chimney structure is weakened.
Another sign of this is spalling. Take a close look around the base of your chimney. If you see white specks or flakes it could also indicate that the mortar or the brick is flaking off because of water that is stored inside. These weakened areas could be causing leaks on the interior of your chimney. These leaks let water in and impede the flow of smoke on the way out of your chimney.
One way to take care of this problem is to seal the surface of the chimney itself. At Chimney Doctors of Colorado, we have the proper equipment to do this job so that water can’t penetrate the surface of the brick and mortar. More importantly, we use ChimneySaver as a sealant. This special product keeps precipitation from getting in while allowing any moisture that is already in the brick or mortar to escape, ensuring that your chimney will stay in great shape for many years to come.
At Chimney Doctors of Colorado, we are dedicated to making sure that your chimney stays just as strong and sturdy as the day it was built. If you suspect that your chimney is leaking, we can take care of sealing it right up. Give us a call today and your chimney will be back up to snuff in no time at all!