Living in the south is always a battle with the weather. One minute it could be sunny while the next it could be down pouring rain. This has a major effect on chimneys and fireplaces. We actually get more rain than anywhere in the country including Seattle. Mobile and Pensacola are ranked the top two while Seattle is ranked 41st.
With the amount of rain this region receives, it has lasting effects on the chimneys and fireplaces.
Fireplaces, Chimneys, and Leaks
In basic terms, the problem with fireplace and chimney leakage is that water combines with the creosote that remains from fires to form an acidic mixture. Over time that mixture can eat out the silica in the mortar joints.
Once the joints are no longer secure, moisture — remember all that Gulf Coast rain — can get into the house through the chimney. For example, if water comes in through the chimney and is released under the shingles it can lead to the need for a roof replacement.
Also, without proper sealing, heat from fires can travel into areas that should not be exposed to heat, dry out the wood, and in some cases actually cause the wood to catch on fire.
In fact, according to a staff report by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about 22,000 fires a year that are associated with fireplaces, chimneys, and chimney connectors. Such fires can cause substantial damage and in some cases may lead to fatalities.
Also, without caps, it does happen that birds and animals get into fireplaces. Sometimes nests are built and in some cases, animals unable to get out die inside chimneys and fireplaces. Noises and odors can result from such problems.
Caps, Covers, and Dampers
You can protect your household with caps, covers, and dampers. Caps with spark arresters are devices that go over the flue. They keep out both moisture and animals, plus they help prevent sparks from leaving the chimney. Covers are at the top of the chimney, go around the flue, and protect against moisture. Dampers are inside the chimney itself. They can help create a proper draft to achieve the best fire, plus when closed they prevent animals from getting into the house.
Cap, Cover, and Damper Services
We can install, repair and maintain caps, covers and dampers. We inspect such devices as part of our basic chimney sweep services. We have many devices in stock and can recommend the equipment which is right for your fireplace and chimney, whether it is masonry or metal, new or historic.