Owning an older home can come with potential issues and problems with settling foundations, heating efficiency, and weakened framework are not uncommon, to name a few. Many of the issues with homes built before the 1950s is that there weren’t as many building standards in place at that time as there are now. The same is true with chimney systems. That’s why we here at The Chimney Guy want to make sure you understand why, if you own an older chimney, there are some things you may want to take into consideration.
The Most Common Issue
One of the most common issues that we run across in older chimneys is a lack of a chimney liner. Your chimney liner is a barrier that is put in place between your chimney flue and the walls of your chimney and home. The liner insulates the flue, protecting chimney walls from getting too hot and catching your home’s framework on fire. Your chimney liner is crucial to the safe operation of your fireplace and if you are missing your liner, your fireplace should not be used for any purpose until a new liner is installed by a professional. In fact, when tested by the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), it was determined that your chimney wall can become hot enough to catch the adjacent woodwork on fire in just 3 ½ hours?
Your liner also protects your chimney masonry from exposure to condensation and corrosive gases, which can deteriorate your masonry causing structural issues and allowing toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, leaking into your home. Chimney liners are essential to protecting your home, and nowadays all fire codes require having a chimney liner installed before you are allowed to put your fireplace to use. This is why it is important to have your older chimney inspected if you aren’t sure it has a liner installed. If you don’t have a liner installed you will have to have a chimney professional install one before use.
Other Common Issue
There are some other common chimney issues that we run across relates to age. One of these issues is shifting. As your house and chimney grow older the ground underneath naturally shifts due to the weight of your home or a geological event such as heavy rains or an earthquake. Although your chimney is somewhat flexible, over time it can really stress your brickwork, causing it to crack, crumble, or separate from its mortar joints. If this happens you will need an experienced mason to repair your masonry.
Another issue is related to moisture. Although older bricks are sometimes able to handle heat better than newer brick, they almost always are more porous. This means if water is allowed to settle on them, they can soak up water like a sponge. This can lead to a lot of issues including staining, masonry cracking, and erosion, as well as unpleasant smells. The best way to protect your chimney is a combination of waterproofing and making sure your chimney crown and chimney cap are in good, working condition.
We Can Help!
If you have an older chimney that hasn’t been used in a while, it needs to be inspected by a chimney professional before use. Our experienced technicians here at The Chimney Guy can make sure that your chimney is operational, and if it isn’t we can repair whatever issues you may have. Call Green Bay and the Fox Valley’s number one chimney sweep, The Chimney Guy, at 920-830-1920 or schedule an appointment online to have your older chimney inspected today. We look forward to serving you!