This Chicago winters have no shortage of freezing and thawing cycles, snow on rooftops, and resulting damage to chimneys. Yet many people overlook the need for maintenance of their chimneys. Expanding and contracting of the chimney caused by weather conditions result in gaps, cracks, and crumbling mortar. If these moisture issues aren’t addressed, using the fireplace and chimney could become a hazard. It is important to keep up with winter chimney care each year. The mortar joints of brick and mortar chimneys can erode when water seeps into them, and this weakens the bricks.
All parts of the chimney can be damaged by water, including concrete, flue tile, concrete blocks, steel, and cast iron. Another commonly overlooked winter chimney care issue is that water mixed with creosote in a chimney can create a very bad odor which can leak into the home.
There are many negative consequences to a damaged chimney. It’s important to get the help of a professional chimney sweep at least once annually to check and see whether damage caused by moisture has occurred.