Tag Archives: chimney

ORGANIC FOOD = GOOD; ORGANIC GROWTH = BAD

The removal of organic growth from chimney systems is critical when it comes to preventing water damage and extending the serviceable life of chimney infrastructure. In the wet climate of the Pacific Northwest, this is especially pertinent.

During a recent inspection in Bellingham, I came across a chimney system with extensive organic growth. In this case, I recommended improving the system with a masonry sealant/water repellent, once organic growth had been removed.  There are differing industry opinions about waterproofing masonry elements; some contractors argue that applying a sealant can make the issue worse and lead to masonry damage, others say that it’s absolutely necessary to prevent water damage.  At a minimum, in my opinion, it’s imperative to keep moss growth maintained and prevent its growth on expensive masonry elements which can lead to costly repairs down the road.  

Check out the video below to see how one chimney sweep company uses a waterproofing agent to protect chimney systems. Thanks for watching!

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Install a Chimney Cap

Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections shares a video of an uncapped chimney at a recent home inspection. In the past, chimney caps weren’t installed because people used their fireplaces all day/night as a source of heat; the constant updraft prevented water intrusion becoming an issue. Today, that’s not the case for most homeowners, so it’s really important to install chimney caps to prevent water intrusion that can lead to expensive damage. Thanks for watching!

VIDEO: Install Chimney Cap / Rusted Flashings!

At a recent home inspection on San Juan Island, I discovered rusting/corroding flashing details at the chimney that should be further evaluated and repaired to help prevent potential leaks to the interior. Also, the installation of chimney caps is advised over open flues to prevent water intrusion which can reduce the life expectancy of masonry fireplaces. Finally, treating and removing organic growth from masonry is advised, together with applying a masonry sealant to properly maintain your exterior masonry elements.

Is your chimney leaking?

One thing that brick chimneys, stone chimneys and fireplaces have in common is that eventually most will require some type of maintenance to keep a water tight seal. Leaks into a chimney can cause unsafe heating equipment as well as costly damage to the chimney, the appliances connected to it, and to the building itself. Is your chimney leaking? Are you experiencing water marks on the ceiling or walls near your chimney? Is there water appearing in the firebox? Similarly, are you experiencing cracks on the exterior of the chimney which seem to keep getting bigger or are bricks actually flaking off from your chimney? Water is the common thread between all of these problems (for the most part) and following this checklist should help you to be able to arrest water infiltration or prevent further damage.

Is your chimney leaking?

One thing that brick chimneys, stone chimneys and fireplaces have in common is that eventually most will require some type of maintenance to keep a water tight seal. Leaks into a chimney can cause unsafe heating equipment as well as costly damage to the chimney, the appliances connected to it, and to the building itself. Continue reading

Chimney Inspection: Preventing Collapse

Chimneys are among the heaviest and most structurally vulnerable of all exterior components of a building.  Accidents caused by their collapse can lead to death.  A collapse can also cause costly structural damage to the building and its surroundings. Inspection, maintenance and preparedness are critical safeguards against chimney collapse. (read full article here)