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How To Prepare Your Chimney for a Snowstorm

preparing your chimney for a snowstorm

Every year, the onset of fall weather appears suddenly; one moment, it may be bright and sunny, and the next, there may be frost on the ground. Winter can quickly approach, and you can see it by the abrupt weather changes. That means there will be time to prepare your chimney for the upcoming long, cold season.

Many people believe that their chimney is weatherproof since it is composed of brick and mortar. However, chimneys can sustain damage from snow and cold, especially during snowstorms. Winter storms occur every year, but the first one frequently catches us off guard. Additionally, severe storms bring other issues like vehicle accidents and power disruptions. The masonry components of your chimney may deteriorate if it is frequently exposed to snow and ice.

The safety protocols for your fireplace or stove are substantially impacted by the state of your chimneys. Due to poor upkeep, thousands of emergencies happen every year. Additionally, harsh weather can be hard on chimneys.

snow covered cars

How Snowstorms Can Damage Your Chimney?

Even though you might be anticipating cozy fires this winter, remember to clean your chimney. Make sure your chimney is ready for winter on the inside and the outside. Freeze/thaw cycles are the main cause of chimney deterioration throughout the winter. Let’s examine the ways a snowstorm can damage your chimney.

Spalling Brick

Water damage is typically the cause of spalling brick. It occurs when a brick’s face starts to break apart and drop away from the brick’s body.

The stonework used in chimneys is porous and absorbs water like a sponge. If you do not maintain upkeep, moisture in mortar and bricks expands during freeze/thaw cycles, causing microscopic cracks that get bigger with time. In addition, the chimney may tilt or collapse if spalling spirals out of control.

Ice Dams

If you have icicles hanging from the edge of your roof, they may appear harmless, but you may have an ice dam forcing water from melting snow to back up onto your roof. This water can cause major roof issues, such as water leaks.

One of the main places where ice jams occur is the area around your masonry chimney in the attic. If this area is not adequately insulated or shut off, hot air from your home can readily escape, which helps ice dams build on your roof. Flashing, made of metal sheets piled and wrapped around your chimney at the roof, seals off this region and keeps water from getting inside your house.

Wildlife Infestation

In the winter, animals look for warm places to nest, and your chimney is a perfect option. Birds, squirrels, and raccoons frequently establish residences inside flues.

squirrel on roof

Animals who enter the chimney often are unable to exit. In addition, animal carcasses and bird nests cause obstructions that reduce the efficiency of your fireplace and may ignite a chimney fire.

Chimney Flashing Condition

A metal sheet called a chimney flashing is put at the roof line to stop moisture and water from getting inside the chimney. To avoid water damage to your property, keeping the flashing in good shape is essential. Your roof can suffer damage from blizzard conditions, ice, snow, and strong winds, which can loosen the flashing and let water into your home.

Check for Masonry Damage

Finally, do not just check your chimney’s masonry, triple check it. Moisture can harm masonry, but there are other possible dangers as well. The bricks in your chimney can be harmed by excessive heat, such as that produced while burning creosote. Storms and the natural deterioration that occurs over time can both have an immediate effect on your chimney. Any loose bricks or mortar that has corroded endangers the security of your chimney.

It is necessary to stop heat leaks or combustion byproducts. Therefore, it is best to check your brickwork as part of your normal winter chimney preparation to ensure that it is free of erosion or loose brick. In any other case, you risk losing access to your fireplace right in the heart of a bitter winter.

How To Keep Your Chimney Protected During Snowstorms?

It would be best if you took precautions to get your chimney ready ahead of any impending storms that may form throughout the winter. To keep your house, fireplace, and chimney safe and comfortable in the winter months, here are 5 ideas for winter chimney preparations.

Waterproof Your Chimney

Your chimney’s brickwork, which holds the bricks together, is very porous, making it particularly vulnerable to moisture. As a result, your chimney will deteriorate and degrade more quickly the more water it absorbs. Waterproofing materials can be put on the exterior to stop moisture from penetrating the chimney.

It is also crucial to remember that even chimneys made of stones impervious to moisture might sustain water damage because they also need a mortar base between the stones to build the chimney’s structure. Therefore, no matter the type of material, preventing water damage to your masonry during the wet winter months when snow and freezing precipitation remain on your chimney for longer than usual is crucial.

Include a Chimney Cap

The most affordable preventive action a homeowner can take to stop water damage after a snowstorm to their chimney is using chimney caps, commonly known as rain shields. Without it, whether it rains, sleets, or snows, your chimney is exposed to significant amounts of water.

chimney cap protection

As with chimney flashing, chimney caps are continuously exposed to the weather and are susceptible to deterioration over time. If your chimney cap is broken, it may allow snow or freezing rain to accumulate inside your chimney. As a result, your chimney may become damp, which can cause mold problems. Furthermore, because bricks are porous, moisture seriously threatens the masonry’s structural stability.

The resultant expansion causes cracks when it freezes inside the brickwork. The cracks enlarge if ignored over time. The heat that is permitted to exit the chimney is the immediate issue. If chimney cap problems are neglected over time, major chimney failures could occur.

Make an Appointment for a Professional Chimney Inspection and Sweeping

Hiring a professional chimney sweep will guarantee that the inside of your chimney is thoroughly swept and free of soot and debris and that this is done safely and properly.

Creosote, a tar-like, black substance that forms inside your chimney when smoke does not entirely escape, will be removed as part of this maintenance work, improving fireplace safety and lowering fire risks. Professional chimney sweeps will inspect your fireplace and chimney during the inspection to make sure everything is in good operating order. They will offer the fixes you need to use your fireplace securely if there is any damage.

Start Repairs

It is better to handle necessary chimney repairs in the summer or fall rather than during the winter when harsh weather would only exacerbate existing damage. Common fixes include reinforcing mortar joints, filling up cracks, repairing rusty dampers, and replacing broken flue tiles.

High temperatures can cause irreversible damage when the firebox’s steel body is exposed due to severe deterioration of the brick lining. Ensure the bricks are sturdy so you will not have to worry about deterioration that can render your fireplace dangerous.

Vertical has been in the chimney care business for over 35 years, and we have devoted our time and energy to bring safety to your home. We have spent all 35 years making sure we give our customers the best possible service. Take your chimney to a higher standard with Vertical and contact us today to get a free quote!

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