Spring is a wonderful time. We can finally go outside without a jacket. The sun is back to shining after the cold and gloomy winter. Flowers are blooming.
The earth is warming up and your chimney is probably the last thing on your mind. I get it – why think about your chimney when it’s starting to get hot? You’re not going to use it…
But Springtime is the best time to have your chimney looked at. Think about it.
It’s right after you’ve used it all winter. Your chimney has been put through the wringer after you and your family used it all winter.
Plus, springtime signals the rainy season. Winter weather is notorious for being horrible to bricks and mortar because of freeze/thaw cycles that cause cracks. When it rains, these cracks can lead to water leaks in your chimney and can find its way into your walls.
I’ve pieced together 10 tips that you can follow this spring to make sure your chimney is functional and safe when you need to use it again.
1) Check for Roof Related Damage
The first thing you want to do is look on your roof and check for any visible damage. Winter can be especially harsh on your home’s roof. There are three main winter roof damage problems that you should be aware of if you live in Southwestern Virginia. Of course, there are some other issues, like heavy rooftop snow loads, that are very important, but it’s not as frequent an issue here. You should consider consulting with a local roofing company if you have any concerns.
Ice Dam Formation
When warm air rises, it warms the shingles of your roof and the snow that covers your roof. The snow melts and drips down to colder edges of your roof where it freezes again. Once the ice grows thick enough it forms a dam for the other snow melting down. This causes the water to seep under the shingles and eventually into your home through leakage points.
Icicles are cool (pun intended). They often result from the same conditions that cause ice dams. Even though they are pretty neat to look at, they can damage your shingles and gutters.
Attic Condensation Problems
With conditions like ice dams, there’s a chance that your attic ceiling will have excessive condensation. The moisture build-up is scary because this can lead to wood rot and mold.
6) Check Your Chimney Flashing
Just like your chimney cap is the umbrella, think of the flashing as your chimney’s custom rain boots. Basically, your chimney’s flashing is what seals the space between your roof and your chimney.
It’s important to make sure your flashing is in tip-top shape to keep water from leaking off your roof and into your house. The corner of your chimney, where the flashing is located, is particularly vulnerable. Leaving it unmonitored can result in significant damage to your ceilings and walls.
Your flashing can become damaged for many different natural causes, like weather and rust. It could also become damaged by having your shingles replaced if the roofer covered the flashing with tar, diminishing the effectiveness of the flashing.
You can check your flashing by looking around the base of your chimney. Look for areas where water might be getting in, such as gaps, bent flashing, holes made by roofing nails, etc. Flashing is your main defense against leakage, so it’s important to make sure it is securely fastened and that there are no holes or gaps.