During the winter, homeowners depend on their fireplaces for warmth. However, not many know that while fireplaces can keep them warm throughout the season, cold temperatures can harm your home’s chimney.
The presence of snow and ice can significantly damage your chimney and cause significant problems later on. Know the different ways the cold weather can affect your chimney to know what precautionary measures you should apply to protect your chimney.
Effects of Cold Weather on a Chimney
Here are some things you should note:
The stack effect is a result of air buoyancy. It refers to the air movement in gas stacks, chimneys, and buildings, which causes the smoke to drift back into your home as soon as the outside temperature exceeds the interior air temperature. The cold air from outside can rush down the chimney shaft, interchanging with the rising warm air.
Avoid back drafts by keeping the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. It would also help if you can warm the flue to intercept the smoke from flowing back into your home once you light up the fireplace.
Carbon Monoxide Accumulation
One of the adverse effects of the cold weather is the build-up of snow or ice in the chimneys. When this happens, it would be difficult for the vents to carry out their function. The result is the accumulation of carbon monoxide in your home.
This condition is particularly concerning because low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can have generic symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Before you know it, vital organs may have severe damage before poisoning can be identified as the main culprit.
When the cold season sets in, animals will also seek shelter to protect themselves from the harsh weather. Often, their only option would be to find warmth inside your chimney. Certified Chimney advises homeowners who find animals, such as squirrels and raccoons, to seek help from professionals to remove these little critters safely.
After the animal removal, you should also have a thorough chimney sweep to know whether any masonry repairs must be done to prevent these animals from returning. They may also remove any obstruction within the chimney to avoid flue damage.
One of the main causes of chimney issues brought by winter is water damage. Cold weather can cause chips in the masonry. When your chimney has cracked or broken bricks, it would be easier for precipitation water to seep through and freeze when the temperature suddenly drops.
This will cause expansion and significantly worsen the cracks in your chimney’s masonry. You should be wary about defective mortar joints as these can increase the ability of the bricks to soak up water, increasing the moisture in the chimney’s interior. Over time, this may cause your chimney to crumble. Water damage can cause not only foundation issues but also chimney problems.
For most homes, snow build up can have a gradual yet refined process. It won’t be easy to spot any issues until it is too late. That’s why experts recommend doing a regular professional inspection of the chimney.
Given all these causes, every homeowner needs to prepare their abode for the winter season. It can be problematic to deal with these issues when the winter season is already upon them. Not only will it be more difficult for them to book a professional, but it will also be troublesome to deal with the harsh weather without any source of warmth. Make sure to do all the necessary checks and have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected. This way, you can enjoy the winter cold with ease.