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4 Ways Winter Weather can Compromise your Chimney

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Your chimney endures the elements year-round, but winter weather is the most notorious for causing damage to your system. Heavy amounts of snow and ice can lead to significant structural and operational problems with your chimney. If left unrepaired, these problems can put your home and family’s safety in jeopardy. The pros at Admiralty Chimney have seen firsthand the impact winter conditions can have on chimneys, and share their know-how in this month’s blog. Here are four ways winter can compromise your chimney:

1. Chimney Flashing Damage

Flashing consists of fitted metal sheets installed to create a watertight connection between your chimney and roof. Heavy snow can cause it to bend under the weight of the snow, allowing water from melted snow to easily flow into your chimney. Failed flashing can cause water leaks that damage the wooden structure around your chimney as well as your ceiling and walls.

2. Masonry Damage

It’s not just snow or ice that wreaks havoc on your chimney. Temperature fluctuations also cause damage to your masonry over time. When snow melts in the afternoon sun, porous brick masonry will absorb the moisture. As the temperature dips below freezing, that moisture turns to ice, expanding and causing cracks in the bricks. As this freeze/thaw process continues, the spalling bricks can damage your chimney crown, bricks, and mortar. This type of problem can lead to serious structural and safety issues if left unrepaired.

3. Cracked Chimney

Moisture that seeps through the porous bricks slowly erodes them over time. During the winter, frigid temperatures can cause the trapped water to freeze inside the bricks, causing cracks. Depending on the state of your flue liner, brick cracks can interrupt the proper airflow of your chimney. In some cases, this may not be noticeable, but in severe cases, it can be a precursor to a chimney fire.

4. Blocked Chimney

When snow builds up on your roof, it can eventually block your chimney. Using your fireplace when your chimney is blocked puts your home at risk of a carbon monoxide buildup or fire. Don’t assume the hot air from a fire will cause sufficient melting. If your chimney is blocked, air isn’t going to come in, nor is it going to come out, jeopardizing the safety of your home and family.

Inspection is your best detection.

No matter the season, your chimney will show signs of wear and tear over time. It’s an important preventative maintenance task to periodically check your chimney for any damage or disruption in operation. Equally important is maintaining regular chimney inspections with an experienced technician. They have the skilled perspective and equipment to assess your chimney system from the inside out. And they offer techniques to help prevent future damage.

Chimney Inspection, Cleaning and Repair in NH and MA

If you suspect a problem with your fireplace and chimney, contact the trusted CCP-certified chimney professionals at Admiralty Chimney. We can inspect your chimney, identify any potential risks, and schedule needed repairs so you can have peace of mind.

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