Indianapolis can experience harsh winters, including substantial amounts of snow. These heavy snows, sleet, and freezing temperatures can cause damage to your masonry. This is especially a concern if your chimney had a leak before winter weather. Masonry damage can become serious if water is allowed to penetrate the chimney system, and then winter hits.

The Problem with Winter Moisture Penetration

If your masonry isn’t properly waterproofed prior to winter weather, it is highly susceptible to water penetration. This is because masonry is constructed to be porous. Industry professionals can apply a chemical sealant that allows vapors to escape the porous masonry preventing water from getting in.

If water gets into the chimney’s masonry, it can wreak havoc on the various parts of the chimney system. During the winter, the water that is trapped inside the masonry will freeze when the chimney cools, then melts when it heats, filling the cracks and continuing the process of freezing, expanding, thawing, penetrating deeper, and freezing again. This freeze/thaw process allow water to penetrate the chimney, damaging parts, causing nasty odors, and creating leaks. It also affects the structural integrity of your chimney.

Signs Your Chimney is Affecting by Winter Moisture

  1. Visible cracks in the mortar, no matter how minor, indicate a problem such as water penetration. It also leads to much bigger issues.
  2. Spalling is the term that describes masonry that is chipping, crackling, and crumbling—mortar and bricks fall, leaving holes in the masonry, and actually create a hazard due to bricks falling from the roof!
  3. Water in the chimney’s interior. This is indicated by dripping in the chimney or fireplace, stains on inside or outside of the chimney or fireplace, and leaks in ceiling or walls near the fireplace and chimney.
  4. A decline in efficiency is a strong indicator that there is a problem with your chimney system. The average homeowner isn’t aware of an issue until there is visible damage like that described above. Do not ignore a sudden decline in your chimney’s performance. If your fireplace becomes smoky, you need to have it checked out for flue obstruction or damage.

If you are unsure if your chimney has been affected by winter weather, there is a chimney expert waiting for your call. A Mad Hatter chimney sweep can assess your entire chimney system during a CSIA inspection. We are certified, trained, and experienced with chimney inspections, and although we offer excellent repair services, we’d rather see our customers avoid damage to their chimneys altogether. That’s why we sell and install chimney caps, flashing, and chimney crowns, all of which protects your chimney from winter damage.

To find out what we can do to protect your chimney contact The Mad Hatter today.