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How Winter Affects Your Chimney

Post by : Admin


While the fireplace does offer warmth, its chimney undergoes slow changes in the winter. The winter villain, AKA freeze and thaw damage, affects buildings, roads, infrastructure—chimneys are no exception. This is a problem that homeowners dealing with the harsh winters of Connecticut have to face regularly.

A house covered in snow with a protruding chimney

Freeze-and-thaw damage recurs and unless treated, the results are disastrous to the chimney’s structure. It might be necessary to have the chimney repaired and rebuilt if the damage becomes too extensive. Read on more to find out its causes, how it happens, and what can be done about it.

The Freeze and Thaw Cycle

The mortar in the chimney absorbs moisture from rain and moist air. During the winter, the water soaked in the mortar freezes and expands, putting significant strain on the material. When the temperature is higher again, the ice thaws and melts back into water, leaving behind dry cracks in the structure.

This cycle repeats itself as the temperature keeps changing. This is especially a problem in masonry materials which are porous and act like sponges, readily soaking up water.

How This Cycle Affects Chimneys

The chimney protrudes out of the top of the house which makes it vulnerable to moisture from all sides. The freezing and thawing water ruins the structural integrity of the chimney and the flue. The chimney might become loose, causing it to lean and possibly fall. The water can also seep into the house slowly, showing up on the walls as water stains. Trapped moisture within the walls causes freeze and thaw damage to spread beyond the chimney, getting worse with each year.

Chimney repair becomes important for the fireplace to function properly again as well as protect the house from water seepage and stains.

 A bird resting on the top of a chimney

What Can Be Done

1. Early Inspection

Early detection of water damage is key. Certified and professional chimney sweeps can conduct an inspection to detect faults in the chimney and flue. Routine maintenance and regular chimney inspection are crucial to keep the structure healthy and avoid major water damage.

2. Chimney Repointing

For chimneys that are already slightly damaged, repointing can replace the old cracking mortar. The fresh mortar will freshen up the chimney’s appearance and help it last longer.

3. Chimney Rebuilding

If the freeze and thaw cycle has severely damaged the chimney, making it dangerous to use, you’ll need to invest in chimney rebuilding. This involves rebuilding the chimney with new and reusable materials.

Our experts at Creative Masonry & Chimney have the right skills and tools for all your chimney repair needs. We offer routine chimney inspection and consultation services in Connecticut.

Our multi-service firm also offers chimney sweep, cleaning, and rebuilding to keep your structures intact.

Get in touch with us now to get an estimate!