Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Prevent Winter Chimney Damage This Summer

Act now to prevent chimney damage this winter!

Act now to prevent chimney damage this winter!

If you live in an area where the temperatures rise and fall, and you have freeze and thaw weather cycles your masonry chimney can be suffering more damage than meets the eye. Here in Aurora and the middle of northern Illinois, each of the four seasons brings new challenges and take their toll on chimneys in the area. But winter takes the worst toll. Pozzi Chimney Sweep knows all too well the consequences of winter’s weather abuse and we have perfected our techniques to minimize the damage and correct any potential problems that do occur. If repairs are needed before we are able to waterproof and protect your masonry, our skilled technicians can perform them for you.

Summertime is one of the best times to tend to your chimney maintenance. It’s always preferable to go on top of your roof when it is not covered with ice and snow. The warm weather allows our skilled technicians the access and ability to inspect, safely maneuver on your roof, and make the necessary repairs. The professional products we use to seal and waterproof are also temperature sensitive and best applied in dry temperate weather.

Here are chimney basics every homeowner should know. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) explains, “Chimneys are far from the passive black holes that most people assume them to be. They perform several vital functions, and their simple appearance misrepresents their complex construction and performance requirements. A chimney deteriorated by constant exposure to the weather can be a potential safety hazard. Weather-damaged lining systems, flue obstructions and loose masonry materials all present a threat to residents.”

The CSIA site goes on to explain, ”All masonry chimney construction materials, except stone, will suffer accelerated deterioration as a result of prolonged contact with water. Masonry materials deteriorate quickly when exposed to the freeze/thaw process, in which moisture that has penetrated the materials periodically freezes and expands causing undue stress. Water in the chimney also causes rust in steel and cast iron, weakening or destroying the metal parts.”

Chimneys in the Snow Belt suffer more damage than anywhere else due to the temperature variations which cause more instances of spalling brick damage.

Conscientious homeowners are aware that their chimneys, retaining walls, and brick paving are susceptible to water damage and have seasonal inspections by a chimney professional; they also invest in preventative measures to ensure that the risks of water penetration and damages are mitigated. If there is damage, it is important to have the repairs completed before the sealant and waterproofing materials are applied. Otherwise the water and dampness will become trapped and further moisture damage and mold accumulation will occur.

The ideal approach to prevent damage from freeze/thaw cycles is to be pro-active rather than reactive. And summertime is the best time to call your local chimney professional to inspect, repair, and waterproof your chimney. If you live in around Aurora, IL, then Pozzi Chimney Sweep is your chimney sweep of choice. Contact us here for your next appointment!

The Benefits Of Waterproofing Your Chimney

Make sure your chimney is waterproof by calling Pozzi Chimney Sweep today!

Make sure your chimney is waterproof by calling Pozzi Chimney Sweep today!

Another year and another long winter almost behind us. As spring starts to roll in, it’s time to consider some chimney maintenance. Typical chimneys are made of bricks (usually clay or cement) and these materials are very porous. After prolonged exposure to moisture from harsh winter weather, your bricks can start to absorb the moisture, causing damage in a variety of ways.

If your chimney is exposed to the elements without waterproofing, this can lead to a variety of problems. Firstly, several components of your chimney such as the flue, damper and firebox could start to rust. Additionally, the actual bricks of your chimney could start to crack, crumble and eventually cause your chimney to shift or collapse. Lastly, if your chimney is exposed to the elements without protection, it could leave the interior of your home susceptible to water damage. If you notice peeling paint or wallpaper around where your chimney is located you may be experiencing some water damage.

Preventing Creosote Build-Up

A capped, dry chimney is able to burn hot, which prevents the build-up of creosote, a harmful chemical left behind when a fire isn’t burning hot enough. When your chimney is properly capped and/or lined, the fires in your fireplace or wood-burning stove will burn as hot as possible, making it difficult for creosote to build-up and damage your chimney.

Waterproofing Products For Your Chimney

Luckily for homeowners, there are a variety of ways you can waterproof your chimney and protect it from the elements. These products are easily installed by a professional chimney company such as Pozzi Chimney Sweep in Illinois so there’s no reason not to invest in the benefits of waterproofing your chimney.

Lining Your Chimney

Chimney liners are widely used as a means of protecting the masonry from corrosion and water damage. Chimney liners come in three main forms: metal, clay and cast-in place. Your professional chimney experts can recommend a chimney liner that’s right for your home.

Capping Or Sealing Your Chimney

There are also many add-ons or inserts that can be used to prevent rain and snow from entering your chimney. A chimney cap is placed on top of your chimney and seals the hole shut when your chimney isn’t in use. A top-sealing chimney damper has the same affect and can be reopened when you are ready to light a fire. Other benefits of chimney caps and sealers include:

Sealing your chimney from the top prevents debris like sticks and leaves from falling in your chimney and causing hazardous chimney fires.
Small animals and birds won’t be able to fall in a capped chimney, which can be dangerous for both the animals and you.

Contact us about the best ways you can prevent water from entering your chimney and causing damage. Prevention is the best way to avoid dangerous damage and expensive repairs. When the snow melts and spring rolls in have your chimney professionally inspected by one of our certified technicians and ask about the benefits of waterproofing your chimney for efficient and safe chimney use all year long!

Air Quality Issues

Sure, you might enjoy the smell of a wood fire on a crisp fall evening—but that’s not a smell you should be experiencing inside your home from your fireplace. In fact, smelling smoke means not only that your chimney isn’t doing its job, but also that the air inside your home is being polluted and is hazardous to your health. We all spend a lot of time in our homes, and want to do what we can to reduce the amount of pollutants in the air. Let’s take a look at how we can eliminate your chimney from contributing to bad air.

If draft isn't happening properly, some air that should go up the chimney is coming into your home. This can cause breathing difficulties.

If draft isn’t happening properly, some air that should go up the chimney is coming into your home. This can cause breathing difficulties.

Smoke pollution, also called spillage, is when air gets pulled down through the chimney, instead of allowing the smoke to exit up. This pushes the smoke into the home. Even in small amounts, this can be dangerous. Elderly or children are especially susceptible to this kind of pollution—it can cause respiratory and cardiovascular issues, lung cancer, and can damage lung tissue.

There are a number of things that can cause spillage. An average fire consumes all the air that can fit into a 1200 square-foot space three times within 24 hours of operation. If your home isn’t properly ventilated, that fire is going to get the air from somewhere. There can also be issues with your flue size or the position of the fire grate. A smoke guards or exhaust fan is often a practical and effective solution to this problem.

Mold spores are another, more invisible foe, and your chimneys can often be the culprit. If there is moisture trapped inside the chimney it’s the perfect place for mold to grow—dark, damp and warm. It’s also responsible for a number of health problems, like sinus and respiratory problems, coughing, headaches, and eye and throat irritation. Having a chimney cap installed and waterproofing your chimney will rid it of moisture and help keep your air cleaner.

As you can see, keeping up with the regular maintenance of your chimney is a vital part of being a homeowner. Be sure to schedule an annual inspection and cleaning, so your chimney sweep can keep you one step ahead.