Built in 1765, Washington D.C.’s famed Old Stone House is a perfect example of a home that’s served well by a sturdy, finely crafted chimney. More than 250 years later, chimneys are still adding warmth and character to many homes in nation’s capital and surrounding neighborhoods. But in order to safely enjoy the many benefits associated with a chimney, they need to be properly maintained and proactively repaired, whenever possible. Here are four of the most common issues likely to require attention from chimney professionals.
1. Creosote Deposits
Creosote is the deposit that’s created when wood is burned in a fireplace. It usually combines with soot and ends up within the inside lining of your chimney. These deposits can become problematic if they block the flow of air and prevent the sufficient release of smoke. A chimney sweep has the tools necessary to safely and thoroughly remove creosote deposits from the flue lining.
2. Chimney Blockages
Some chimney blockages are from accumulated debris or bird’s nests. Other blockages may be due to structural issues with masonry. A chimney technician can determine if repairs need to be made to correct structural issues that may be fully or partially blocking your chimney. The National Fire Protection Association suggests having chimney’s inspected annually so blockages can be identified and corrected proactively.
3. Flue Cracks
A common type of chimney repair Washington DC homeowners may need involves damage to the flue. Clay tile is often used to line chimneys. However, it’s not as durable and long-lasting as stainless steel. Even tiny flue cracks can increase the risk of high heat causing damage to other parts of your home. Carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases may also seep into your home through flue cracks. With clay liners, possible repair issues include deteriorated mortar and areas with broken flakes of clay that could develop into full cracks.
4. Brickwork, Cap, and Crown Problems
When mortar deteriorates on a chimney, there’s an increased risk of moisture exposure. Damaged brickwork can also cause a chimney to become unstable over time. If the chimney cap or chimney crown (chimney wash) are damaged, the inner parts of your chimney could be damaged by increased exposure to the outside elements. The crown is especially important because it’s what seals the top of the chimney. A damaged crown can also affect how water flows off your chimney and increase the risk of excessive moisture exposure.
The type of chimney repair Washington DC homeowners may need will also depend on the overall condition of a chimney and its adjacent fireplace. One way to minimize the risk of experiencing serious chimney problems is to invest in a chimney cap. There are many designs available, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that works well with your chimney’s design. A chimney technician can install a cap for you.