What Goes Wrong with Chimneys?
Then and Where to Look for Problems
How often do you check your chimney for signs of damage or wear and tear?
If you have had a contractor apply a cement based mortar on your stone chimney, It may look something like this underneath (referring to the image). Stone needs to expand and contract. Cement does neither. Over time the stone burns away.
If left untreated, small problems such as cracks in chimney stacks can soon become bigger ones. These cracks are usually as a result of warm gas fumes that come of gas fires and central heating systems. Because chimneys are so exposed it pays to have a look at yours every so often for any obvious signs of damage or deterioration.
Here are just a few common chimney problems:• Cracked cope stones as a result of sulphur release from a fire or heating system.
• Damage due to high winds and/or heavy rain.
• Becoming unstable due to lack of maintenance.
• Loose flashing at the base of your chimney letting in water.
It's definitely a good idea to have a look at your chimney after any period of strong winds or torrential rain. It may be that a minor flaw has been made worse and now needs prompt attention. Irrespective of the weather it's good to get into the habit of checking your chimney every couple of months. If there is a problem that goes unnoticed you could run the risk of water damage in your property and in severe cases, your chimney stack becoming unstable and dangerous.
Due to the harsh weather conditions chimneys above the roofline in Scotland lean inward over time.
Chimneys that exhaust sulpher gases from oil burners such as a combi boiler produce sulphuric acid. This eats away at the mortar and over time.
Depending on the condition of your chimney, the options are:
• Reduce the chimney to roof level
• Have the chimney removed