Top 10 reasons to tackle your chimney repair now
Even sitting here at my work-from-home desk, I can hear you exclaim: "Chimney repair? Are you serious? I just finally set up my aboveground pool!"
Well, sorry to play the role of Debbie Downer (by the way, what is the name of Debbie’s male counterpart - Dave Depresso?). I’m actually just trying to save you some time and hassle this fall.
There’re quite a few great reasons to find a professional and take care of your chimney repair right now. Here are the top 10.
1. Prepare for fireside season. While you’re still busy with warm-weather freedom and fun, it’s simple to take a few minutes and plan ahead for autumn comfort. When the evenings grow cooler, you will want your chimney and fireplace to be ready to enjoy, comfortably and safely.
2. Book a pro before the rush. The busiest period for chimney repair and reconstruction tends to start in September and continue through the end of January. Don’t set yourself up for a future FOMO attack; get your chimney repair appointment locked in ahead of the rush.
3. Combine repair with annual inspection. You should be scheduling a routine chimney inspection and maintenance visit every year, anyway. So why not multitask and take care of several must-do chores at one and the same time?
4. Remove any blockages. This past spring, birds and other creatures may have built themselves cozy little homes in or on your chimney. Aww! But now that the fledglings have flown, it’s time to get the leftover nests cleared away so they won’t keep fireplace smoke from exiting your house.
5. Check your chimney cap (or install a new one). A well-functioning chimney cap will help keep moisture out of your chimney, for protection against autumn downpours and winter storms. The cap must be properly sized to avoid backdrafting smoke and gases into your living room.
6. Make sure that your chimney’s masonry is intact. This is another chimney repair which is essential for moisture prevention. It may require replacing a few cracked bricks, redoing the mortar or possibly rebuilding your whole chimney. (CHIMNEY REPAIR TIP: Mortar is much easier to work with - and cures better - when the temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.)
7. Fix damage to the chimney crown or flashing. Your chimney is "crowned" with concrete, to bridge the gap between the bricks and the flue lining. At the base of your chimney, a material called flashing joins the chimney to the roof. If either the crown or the flashing is damaged (crumbling, cracked, rusted, etc.), you will end up with chimney leaks ... unless you get the problem fixed.
8. Repair your flue lining, if necessary. Your chimney is only as good as its lining. Flue repair will not only safeguard against chimney fires (which can rapidly spread to the rest of your home), but also prevent carbon monoxide seepage during the winter months, when your house will be sealed up tight.
9. Clean out creosote buildup. At the very least, your chimney should be cleaned once it has built up a 1/8-inch deposit of creosote. Although most of the job can be done from inside your house (just be sure to cover your floor and furniture really, really well), the chimney cap itself must be cleaned from outdoors - much more easily done before the snow starts to fall.
10. Get rid of fireplace smells in summer. While the positive impact of chimney repair will be felt most strongly a few months down the road, there is one way it will benefit you and your household right away. Chimney repair and cleaning will eliminate those unpleasant lingering fireplace smells.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.