There are two types of chimneys; masonry and stainless. A masonry chimney is built by a mason who uses concrete, bricks, concrete blocks, flue tiles, mortar, steel and cast iron to build a chimney.
Stainless steel chimneys are often called “factory-built” chimneys. These are manufactured in a factory and the components of the chimney system are twist-locked together. They are used in new construction and in remodeling projects. Today, factory built, stainless steel chimneys are much more common due to the lower labor cost associated with their installation.
Water, whether it’s rain or snow, can cause a lot of damage to both types of chimneys. Water will rust steel fireboxes and cast-iron dampers. Water seeps into small cracks and crevices and will expand when it freezes. Masonry materials will quickly start to deteriorate during these freeze/thaw cycles. Factory built fireplaces have wood framed chimneys built around the pipe. A bad chase top can allow water to deteriorate the wood structure.
Other concerns about water in chimneys include:
1) The deterioration of mortar between flue tiles can be worsened. This decline is from the inside, out. By the time you have noticed issues on the outside of the chimney, the inside is normally severely damaged and can lead to expensive repairs.
2) Seeping water can stain the exterior of the chimney and house. In addition, it can also stain the interior walls and ceilings.
3) Additionally, when this water mixes with creosote in the chimney, the result is a nasty smelling odor that will often spread throughout the entire house.
It is highly recommended that a properly sized cap be installed, regardless of the type of chimney.
A chimney cap is an inexpensive item that comes in dozens of sizes and several colors. Stainless steel, copper and black powder coat are the most common. Fireplace & Bar-B-Q Center can determine what size and type is the best option for your chimney.
Other advantages of having a chimney cap include:
1) Preventing sparks that find their way up the flue from landing on the roof.
2) Caps can help keep critters and birds from nesting in the chimney.
A properly sized and designed chimney cap can go a long way to preventing damage. Chimney caps have long been acknowledged as a critical safety and damage avoidance component.
Winter will be here before you know it. If you noticed water getting into your fireplace this spring, give Fireplace & Bar-B-Q Center a call. Let us help you with your chimney and fireplace questions, or better yet, stop by and see us in person. We’re ready to serve you!!