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By mainechimne63644266, Jan 16 2020 07:06PM

When the weather outside is cold, snowy, or icy, our fireplaces keep us warm and comfortable inside our homes. Unfortunately, winter weather can have a serious negative impact on our chimneys.

Snow and ice can be the roughest weather conditions for your chimney system. The combination of moisture and freezing temperatures can cause major chimney and masonry damage, often in as little as one season. Because of this, it is important to have any damage repaired as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse during winter weather.

How do snow and ice damage my chimney?

The primary way that snow and ice impact your chimney is through water damage. While water damage can occur at any time of year because of rain and hail, it is most common in winter because of the freeze thaw cycle.

The freeze thaw cycle damages masonry by creating progressively larger and larger cracks and holes. Bricks are naturally porous, meaning that they can absorb small amounts of water at any time. While strong, undamaged bricks may only take in a miniscule amount, masonry with cracks or holes – no matter how small – can absorb more than the usual amount. As this water freezes in cold temperatures it expands; this creates a larger area of damage that will allow even more water to be absorbed in the future. The freeze thaw process is so harmful that masonry can crack and spall in as little as one winter season.

How can I prevent damage from snow and ice?

The best way to protect your chimney against damage from snow and ice is through preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance keeps your fireplace and chimney in good condition all year round, making it less susceptible to damage from snow and ice during the winter.

One way to protect your masonry from water damage all year round is through waterproofing. Our waterproofing products block water from being absorbed by the brick while still allowing gasses to pass through. This keeps the chimney venting safely while also protecting the bricks and mortar against damage from moisture or the freeze thaw process.

Another way to keep your chimney in good condition all year round is by having a regular chimney inspection. A yearly chimney inspection can help spot areas of damage long before they turn into major problems.

Snow and ice can have a major impact on the safety and stability of your chimney system. To protect your chimney against future damage from winter weather, contact us at 618.235.6364 to schedule an appointment.

By mainechimne63644266, Jan 8 2020 05:34PM

There is nothing better than a warm cozy fire on a cold winter’s night but there is nothing worse than that camp fire smell that can occur.

If your chimney smells like —— Then it most likely is from…

Bad Barbeque/Asphalt —— Creosote build up

Creosote comes from wood smoke. It is a dark, flammable tar that is absorbed by the masonry inside your chimney. You cannot prevent creosote and soot from forming, but you can reduce the build-up by burning hardwood dried for a minimum of six months. Have your chimney and fireplace cleaned at least once a year by a professional. It removes the build-up and prevents chimney fires.

Musty Odor —— Water sitting in your smoke chamber

If you smell a musty odor coming from your fireplace, it means water got in your chimney. Water does not only cause bad odors, but it can also rust the damper, and damage the flue lining, which will generate repairs. A chimney cap stops water from entering your chimney, thus preventing all the problems mentioned above.

Rot and Decomposition —— Fallen leaves combining with damp soot and rotting in the chimney. Having your chimney swept fixes the problem, and installing a chimney cap prevents it.

Animal Scat or Dead Critters —— Animals leaving behind thoughtful “gifts” in your chimney or not being able to escape and passing away. It happens that birds, raccoons and other small animals try to access your home by the chimney, but then get stuck and can’t get out. A chimney cap with a mesh netting keeps animals out, and a good chimney sweep gets rid of the smell.

Call us to help fix your fireplace odors. 618.235.6364

By mainechimne63644266, Jan 2 2020 06:12PM

Despite their important role in keeping your home free of dangerous gases and reducing the risk of a house fire, chimneys are an afterthought for many because they are typically unseen, hidden behind walls and bricks.

As a result, problems that threaten your chimney’s proper operation tend to lurk in the shadows until they are revealed by an annual inspection by a Certified Chimney Sweep. Still, you may be able to identify some potential chimney problems by putting some of your five senses to work.

Sight: Take a look at the top of your fireplace opening. Is it discolored, or stained a shade of black? If so, that staining is a likely indicator that smoke is entering your home, rising above the fireplace opening to create the discoloration because your chimney is not venting properly. A chimney inspection can reveal what’s causing the back up.

Smell: Some may claim to like “that fire smell,” but we sniff trouble if a smoke-like odor fills your home with each fireplace fire. A properly-working chimney should be pulling all smoke and fumes up and out of your home. If you catch a whiff that your chimney is not doing what it’s supposed to, it is time to call in an expert.

Touch: After your next fire, when the fireplace has completely cooled, run your hands along the light yellow firebricks that make up the inside of your fireplace. Does mortar break away as your run your fingers over it, or do you feel cracks in bricks or points at which bricks seem loose? Even minor abnormalities in the structure can lead to big problems down the road and should be looked at by a Certified Chimney Sweep.

While they can’t substitute for an annual chimney inspection, your senses could help identify a potentially dangerous chimney issue. Call 618.235.6364 to schedule your appointment.

By mainechimne63644266, Dec 23 2019 09:19PM

We wish you a very Happy Holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

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