Do you know if you are in need of Mercer County chimney repair service? Most homeowners are under the impression an annual chimney sweep is all that is needed to get their fireplace up and running. Your chimney sweep should be performing a detailed inspection of all the vital components of the fireplace interior and as well as the chimney exterior. But what if you are the homeowner who doesn’t use their fireplace? Or maybe you have switched to a gas insert so you no longer require an annual chimney sweep? How does one know if they need Mercer County chimney repair service? Below are some of the top signs that you need Mercer County chimney repair service.
Signs that You Need Mercer County Chimney Repair Service
1. Check for a Chimney Cap:
You don’t even need a ladder for this one, step outside and take a look. The chimney cap’s main purpose is keeping rain out of the chimney flue. Yes, it is not a masonry portion of your chimney, but its presence is vital to the survival of your chimney’s interior and exterior. In 95% of cases needing Mercer County chimney repair service, a chimney cap is not present. Why is this a problem? Water. Water is the top source of deterioration of all home components, rot, mold, mildew, moss, freeze-thaw, etc, etc. Water in your chimney, or in your masonry is always bad news. If your chimney does not have a chimney cap, its time for a chimney inspection, possibly some repair, and most definitely time to install a chimney cap.
2. Is your Chimney Crown in Good Condition?
The chimney crown is the chimney’s second line of defense against water. The crown is the 2″-3″ concrete or mortar slab that has been poured on the very top of the chimney. This covers the top course of bricks of your chimney and surrounds the top flue tiles of each appliance. Why is this needed? Besides for the aesthetic appeal, chimneys are constructed with a hollow interior surrounding the flue tiles. This hollow space around your fireplace, and flue liners is very important. Other than covering the hollow opening of the chimney the brick also much be covered. Most bricks have a somewhat water resistant facing on their front and sides, however, on the top and bottom they are extremely porous. This is vital during brick construction so the mortar can have the best bond to the brick top and bottom as possible. However, when left exposed to the weather the brick becomes saturated with moisture and is exposed to freeze-thaw, moss and mildew. Wet bricks and mortar joints will lead to deterioration. Check your chimney crown for proper construction, proper thickness, cracks or receding edges or corners. Just like chimney caps, when a chimney has an improper or damaged crown, 95% of the time there is deterioration to the chimney structure. This will call for the need to get Mercer County chimney repair.
3. Do you need Chimney Tuckpointing?
Chimney tuckpointing is commonly misused to describe “mortar joints”. “Tuckpointing” is actually a verb and describes the process of repairing mortar joints, this is a common Mercer County chimney repair service and usually needs to be done on all chimney masonry every 30-50 years. So how do we know when we need our mortar repaired? Since chimneys are half above the roof and half below the roof, they always deteriorate at different rates. Above the roof the chimney is exposed to harsher weather conditions, colder temperatures, wind, rain, ice, snow. Below the roof the chimney is much more protected. Not to mention if the chimney is missing a cap or has a damaged crown, the damage will start at the top and slowly progress downward. Check your mortar joints above the roofline first. Check for cracks, separations between the mortar and the brick, and finally take a screwdriver and scrape the mortar to see if it is soft or begins to flake a fall away. Good mortar will barely leave a mark when running your screwdriver across it. Bad mortar will fall away and leave a gouge. Make your way down the chimney below the roofline and check the mortar there as well. Any areas where the mortar is soft should be repaired. Chimney tuckpointing can only be done to partially damaged mortar however. If the mortar joint is left unchecked for long enough it will fail completely through the joint and the bricks will be loose. Once your bricks are loose, they have to be rebuilt. Take a hammer or the palm of your hand and tap on some bricks near the top, moving down. If any of the bricks are loose, those will need to be torn down and re-mortared.
4. Do you have Efflorescence or White Staining?
White discoloration on a chimney is a sure sign of a moisture problem and a good indicator of some possible Mercer County chimney repair service. This is called efflorescence, it is the natural salts in the brick and mortar that are brought to the surface by moisture and then left behind when the moisture evaporates. This can be removed easily with warm soapy water, however, this w0n’t solve the problem. The most common causes of this is a missing chimney cap, a damaged or missing crown, and/or damaged mortar joints. Let your Mercer County chimney repair service technician know where you are noticing the white staining on your chimney for a more accurate diagnosis.
5. Is There Firebox Damage?
Are there missing mortar joints in your fireplace bricks, loose bricks, or bricks covered in white efflorescence? These are very common signs of leaks in the chimney. Your fireplace firebox is constructed of a very fragile type of brick called firebrick. This type of bricks is designed to be porous to provide adequate insulation to prevent heat transfer. It also is not constructed with just plain old mortar. It requires a special refractory cement to hold the bricks together throughout the high temperatures of your open fire. This refractory cement however, is water soluble. When these firebox mortar joints get wet, they turn to powder and fall apart. Loose bricks, missing mortar joints and crumbling firebrick are all sure signs that chimney repair is in your near future.
Looking for Professional Mercer County Chimney Repair Service?
If you are looking for the best Mercer County NJ chimney service, you’ve come to the right place! For well over 20 years, St John has been providing hundreds of satisfied homeowners with safe chimneys and cozy winters. Our licensed and insured company is also a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) and most of our quality products come with a lifetime warranty. St John is an honest family owned company that takes pride in our positive reputation in the community. For a free Hopewell Chimney Inspection estimate, contact now at (609) 737-0133 or visit the website.