If you’ve put off making chimney repairs through the warm season, don’t delay any further. As cold weather approaches, the chimney should receive its annual evaluation and any outstanding maintenance issues should be resolved.

A working fireplace adds both useable heat and ambience to your indoor environment. However, if needed chimney repairs aren’t made, the chimney can also be a hazard. Between 2003 and 2005, over 25,000 house fires were attributed to chimney defects. In addition, the chimney’s an important element of the home’s overall structure.

Here’s a rundown of typical chimney defects and repairs a professional might recommend:

  • Deteriorated cap – Continuously exposed to the elements in all seasons, the chimney cap gets a lot of natural wear and tear. An intact cap is vital to keep damaging water out of the chimney, as well as obstructions caused by windblown debris or nesting animals. Because most caps also incorporate a spark arrestor, it’s a critical part of fire prevention.
  • Defective crown – The pad of mortar at the top of the chimney keeps water from seeping into the porous chimney masonry, causing it to degrade. Water infiltrating through a defective crown can also damage the attic and the ceiling in living spaces.
  • Liner gaps – Tiles lining the chimney flue keep heat, smoke and toxic gases like carbon monoxide inside the chimney until they’re safely exhausted outdoors. As mortar degrades over time, gaps may form between tiles, allowing heat and toxic gases to escape the chimney and enter living spaces. This presents a serious fire and health hazard. A professional chimney evaluation can detect gaps in the liner, and an HVAC contractor can then suggest flue liner repair options that don’t require demolishing and rebuilding the chimney.
  • Leaky storm collar – The storm collar, or the metal flashing that encircles the chimney pipe where it connects to the chase, is supposed to prevent water intrusion into chimney. When it doesn’t, water may cascade down the chimney, into the fireplace and damage the home’s interior.

Contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for more information on chimney repairs you may need before winter arrives.

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