Procrastinating on chimney repairs can lead to very dangerous results. There are many reasons why you should never procrastinate on repairing your chimney. A fireplace is a wonderful addition to your home to keep you warm and cozy, however, it is important to remember that the chimneys that serve them work to make sure that the fire burning doesn’t result in dangerous gases and other by-products of combustion getting into your home.
Reasons why chimney repairs are important
Smoke from fires contains dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can cause illnesses or even death if exposed to large amounts.
Another risk is that delaying repairs could lead to chimney fires. As all of the different substances produced as wood burns are expelled through the chimney, it could result in residue that sticks to the inner walls of your chimney. This is called creosote. Creosote is a black or brown oily residue that is highly combustible. If it’s not maintained and taken care of, the buildup could ignite causing chimney fires.
Another reason to not delay repairs is that the further the damage, the more costly it could get, especially if it deals with cracks or leaks. Cracks in your chimney could lead to overheating and dangerous gases to leak into your home. Leaks in your chimney could lead to further damage of the structure of your home. As it impairs the efficiency of your chimney, it can also cause leaks into your ceilings, walls, and other structures.
Leaks occur because a lot of masonry materials are porous to expel the gases, however this also means that it can absorb large amounts of water. According to the Chimney Institute of America (CSIA), common bricks act like a sponge, absorbing water & moisture into the interior of your chimney system.
Preventing leaks is very affordable and easy. Here at Hudson Chimney, we want to do everything we can to help from water damage to preventing dangerous gases to enter your home.
Look for signs
There are many different ways to know if you need chimney repairs. With leaks, it could be hard to find any symptoms. However, if you see any of these following signs, call a chimney professional right away.
Deteriorated metal or masonry firebox parts or rusted fireplace accessories
A dripping noise
Rotting adjacent wood and ruined wall coverings
Water-stained walls and ceiling around your chimney
Stained chimney exterior or decaying exterior mortar
A cracked or deteriorated flue lining
A tilted, collapsed or settled-looking chimney
Rainwater in or around your fireplace or furnace thimble
With possible creosote build up, you shouldn’t see any heavy or dangerous signs such as loud cracking or dense smoke if you get your chimney swept regularly. As creosote build up comes in different stages, the further you get, the harder and more costly it will get.
Some early signs to look for are:
Reduced drafting in fireplace
Black soot in and around your fireplace
Very dark smoke coming from your chimney
If you can see more than ⅛ of an inch of soot build up
Not as much as ash left after burning
If you see any of these signs, make sure you contact a chimney professional to help.
How We Can Help
Hudson Chimney has been in the business for over 30 years and we have dealt with all kinds of repairs. We have certified chimney professionals that will help inspect your chimney and repair them for you. We want to make sure that your home is protected from preventable danger concerning your chimney.
With the recent Covid-19 outbreak, we are taking precautions to ensure your safety as well as your professionals. We are taking measures not to shake hands, we will be wearing gloves, laying down tarps, which are washed everyday when professionals return, and we have many tarps to ensure that we are not spreading the virus from home to home.
No matter what type of chimney and fireplace system you have and no matter how often it is used, it still requires annual maintenance to maintain safety for your family and long-lasting parts and functionality. To get straight to the point, the fireplaces and chimney systems which are cleaned regularly and inspected annually are the ones that are most safe and efficient year after year—both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) say so (and we agree).
Unsafe Chimneys Put Lives at Risk
When you neglect your annual maintenance, your chimney will suffer, which means your fire will suffer, and your comfort and safety will as well. As your fire burns, chemical byproducts are released into the flue system where they vent safely outside the home. When this process is interrupted, the smoke and toxins can push into the rest of the house, affecting the breathable air and putting your family at risk for carbon monoxide exposure and particulate pollution.
Additionally, when the fire doesn’t vent properly it will be difficult-to-light and will require more fuel to reach the desired temperature. This heat will not go up the chimney the way it’s intended and designed, so the risk for accidental fire goes up. A flue fire can be catastrophic, destroying your property and causing injury or even death to family and guests.
It’s our goal and the goal of every CSIA certified chimney professional to bring down the occurrence of residential chimney fires and chimney-related incidents. We help our friends and neighbors in and around Jacksonville, Florida maintain safety and comfort for their homes by offering expert chimney services.
Signs Your Chimney Needs Maintenance
Your chimney system is put to work every time you light a fire and it requires annual maintenance no matter how often it’s used. If you haven’t scheduled a chimney sweep or inspection for your system in the last 12 months, now is the time. Though your chimney system needs basic services annually, there are certain signs that indicate the system needs attention right away.
Odors in the fireplace and chimney: Odors mean a problem in the system. Depending on the odor, the problems may be extreme and dangerous. A barbecue smell means the system is dirty and likely has obstructions and flammable creosote deposits. A mildew odor means there is a chimney leak and is likely causing water damage. Foul odors of decomposition mean the system is dirty with decomposing organic materials like leaves and limbs—even a possible dead animal! Any odors in the system mean an expert eye needs to assess the system.
Spalling masonry: Broken, cracked, and crumbling masonry is a serious problem that can allow water into the system, can lead to structural issues, and can compromise ventilation. If your masonry is damaged, it’s important to call a professional who can assess and repair it properly, and prevent a recurrence.
Chimney leaks: A chimney leak may not only occur inside the chimney system itself. While the water may enter by way of the chimney, the leak can occur anywhere in the home as water runs through flooring and walls and can form a leak several rooms away from the chimney. If you have a leak anywhere in your home, or notice dripping sounds or visible signs of a leak in the chimney itself, it’s time to call a professional.
A smoky fireplace: If your fireplace is smoky, the flue isn’t venting properly. It may be that your flue is obstructed, dirty, or your damper isn’t working properly. Your smoky fireplace may even be caused by the wrong type of firewood. In order to determine the source of your smoky fireplace, call a professional who can complete a basic assessment before you use your fireplace and expose your family to smoke inhalation.
Stains on the chimney or in the fireplace: Stains on the inside of the firebox (or fireplace) can be a sign of the wrong firewood, a ventilation problem, or a leak. This needs to be addressed by a certified professional. Additionally, exterior stains are a problem. Red/brown stains at the top of your chimney is a sign of a damaged or dislodged cap. White stains on the masonry surface mean water is passing through the masonry and leaving minerals on the surface.
No matter what type of damage you have discovered or signs you’ve noticed, it is never too late to have it repaired, and it’s never too early to call an expert. At Hudson Chimney we are trained to diagnose and make repairs of the smallest kind so that our customers can avoid costs of the big kind.
When it’s time to schedule your services, schedule with us. Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 and put your trust in the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps that have been serving Jacksonville, Florida for over 30 years.
Your leaky chimney may appear like a leaky roof or a plumbing issue. When water comes into the home by way of the chimney system it can move through the house through walls, floors, and ceilings. The water flows to a low point where it pools before forming a leak. This may appear to a homeowner like a leaky pipe in an upper story bathroom, or like the roof has sprung a leak. This is not the case! If you have a leak in your home or any water damage for that matter, then it is most likely a chimney issue–NOT a roof issue.
The Chimney Professionals
A general contractor is a licensed professional who oversees construction. In order to do this, he works together with other trade professionals. For instance, a contractor might contact a chimney professional during construction in order to have a chimney built properly and up-to-code. He might hire a roofer to make sure the roof is built and materials installed properly. This is standard, and it ensures that all parts of construction are made to specifications and will work properly and last. Like roofers, certified chimney sweeps are the experts in their field. When it comes to chimney construction, diagnostics, and repairs, the chimney experts are who to call when there’s a sign of a leak.
Chimney leaks can cause extreme damage to the masonry and chimney system. In fact, water can cause:
Deteriorated assemblies and central heating system
Water stains and water damage on furniture and home
Rotting wood and interior of a home
Cracked, deteriorated masonry
Collapsed hearth support
This type of damage caused by water in the chimney can be expensive to repair, and chimney leaks are almost 100 percent preventable. Schedule annual maintenance, including routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections. In between these important appointments, there are things that you can do including getting to know your system, using it properly, and paying attention to how it works.
Signs of a Chimney Leak
Any staining on the brick indicates a leak. White staining on the masonry exterior means water is passing through the brick and leaving behind minerals on the surface. In the firebox or the interior portions of a chimney may appear darker in color due to prolonged dripping.
Odors of mildew, mold, or must means there is a leak that has been present long enough for bacteria to grow. Additionally, sounds of dripping, even if you cannot see it, means there is a problem. There shouldn’t be water in the chimney!
Any leak in the home where a chimney is present is most likely caused by a chimney leak. Water enters by way of the chimney and then runs through the house inside walls, ceilings, and floors. This leak may occur behind the scenes for days or weeks before it pools in a low area and eventually forms a leak.
Your chimney system may not seem affected during the off season, but a noticeable change in efficiency while the fire is burning is an indication of a problem, possibly a leak. The easiest way to find out is to call a professional and have it inspected. Hudson Chimney diagnoses leaky chimneys and doesn’t just repair the damage, but fixes the problem. This may include installing a new cap, flashing, crown, and waterproofing the masonry.
Professional Measures of Prevention
You can call a roofer when you have a chimney leak. The odds are that the leak is caused from flashing–the most common cause of a chimney leak. Although many roofers may claim to install flashing, it is not their specialty. It is our specialty!
Chimney Leak Diagnostics
When you have a chimney leak, call us. We check out the area, assess the damage, and repair it all. When we install flashing, our experts place the sheets of metal according to the slant and material of the roof, with no nails visible, and without the need to cover with sealant. If you have recently had your roof replaced, and your flashing has exposed nails, is missing, covered in tar, or has been dislodged it’s time to call a chimney expert.
Call Hudson Chimney
Hudson Chimney repairs flashing. We do not just fix the damage from your leaky chimney. We correct the problem at its source! Hudson will install and repair flashing, caps, crowns, and even waterproof the masonry itself for good measure.
Your chimney is not only used for heat and comfort, but also aesthetics and beauty. Just as a chimney can save homeowner’s money in utilities and add value to the property, it can just as easily decrease the value if it’s neglected or damaged. When your chimney becomes discolored, it becomes obvious there is a problem. Oftentimes, the color can tell you what the problem is.
Stains on the Exterior
White Stains – When water passes through the masonry, it leaves behind minerals like water molecules. If you have white stains on the exterior surfaces of your masonry chimney, your chimney is being affected by water. This is especially common in ocean regions where there are a lot of salts in the air, such as in our service area.
Red Stains – Red stains are common toward the top of the masonry chimney. They are a result of a corroded and rusted chimney cap. A damaged chimney cap may allow water inside, allowing the rusty water to run down the chimney face.
Stains on the Interior
Green/Black Stains – Noticeable stains on the inside of the chimney system are often a result of water damage. Greenish/black stains are a direct result of mold and mildew. The bacteria and spores are likely present in the air and affecting the quality of the air you breathe.
Black/Brown Stains – Caused by soot and creosote, these common stains are mostly found in the firebox. A regularly cleaned and maintained fireplace will not stain. Soot stains may be an indication of a dangerous overproduction of carbon monoxide in the chimney.
Stains on the masonry are not the only kinds of stains that may indicate a dangerous hazard. If you have any type of heat appliance including gas fireplaces or electric heaters, you should be aware of the surrounding space. For instance, if the wall near your heat appliance appears discolored, the heat is affecting it. Most of the building materials that make up your home are flammable, including wood, insulation, wiring, wall coverings, and window treatments. When heat affects the area around the appliance, it still weakens the beams and materials over time, drying them and making them brittle while increasing their fire risk.
No matter what the discoloration or where it occurs, it indicates a problem. If you have noticed a change in appearance, a stain, or otherwise discolored area of the chimney’s masonry or area nearby, you should call a professional for an assessment. Hudson Chimney provides important services such as chimney inspections that can keep your family safe. Remember to schedule your inspection annually, especially if you notice a change or a problem in your system.
Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 or contact us online!