Get Chimney Repairs That Look Good & Last With Milwaukee’s Certified Chimney Pros
Leaky chimneys, crumbling chimneys, poorly drafting chimneys…we’ve seen it all and fixed it all here in Milwaukee. Because of our training and experience, our team is equipped to handle both minor and major repairs. But it’s always best to catch things early on.
Unfortunately, repair needs aren’t always obvious and many homeowners don’t catch them until the damage is extensive. So what should you be looking for? How do you know if you need chimney repairs?
These are some of the most common signs of damage:
- Masonry deterioration and staining – When you spot flaking brick, crumbling mortar joints, staining, or any other abnormal qualities on the exterior of your chimney, chances are you need to schedule repairs. White stains, spalling brick, eroding mortar joints are all signs of a chimney leak. And chimney leaks never get better on their own.
- Rust anywhere – Whether you see rust running down the sides of your chimney, up near your chimney cap or chase cover, on your flashing, or in your firebox, you’ve got a water problem and repairs need to be made.
- Firebox deterioration – Cracks or crumbling areas in your firebox indicate damage from moisture or heat. Whatever is causing the problem, the panels need to be replaced or repaired. Otherwise, you’ll be at higher risk of fire or CO exposure when you use your fireplace.
- Smoke and smells – Smoky fireplaces aren’t normal, so if your fireplace is smoking a lot, something needs to be fixed. It could be that you have a draft problem or a flue blockage. Stinky fireplaces aren’t normal either. Typically, bad odors in the fireplace are caused by creosote buildup or nesting animals. If it’s animals, you may need to have repairs made before having a new chimney cap installed.
What Causes Chimney Damage?
There’s one thing you saw quite often in the list above: moisture. Water is the leading cause of chimney damage, so if you need repairs, there’s a good chance severe weather or a leak is to blame.
You also saw animals mentioned above. Animals and birds can create blockages and cause issues with system performance, increase the threat of carbon monoxide exposure, and even lead to a chimney fire.
What else causes chimney damage? Creosote.
Chimneys are meant to be cleaned routinely because of the highly corrosive and flammable byproducts created by fire – like creosote. Creosote can eat away at clay and metal liners and cause a great deal of damage over time if it’s not removed through sweeping and cleaning.
Additionally, because of its flammable nature, creosote can spark a chimney fire. Contrary to what you may think, chimneys aren’t made to handle the heat of a flash fire. So if a fire does break out in the chimney, it can do a lot of damage in just a little time.
Can You Prevent the Need for Future Chimney Repairs?
Good news: There are some things you can do to protect your chimney against damage, so you don’t have to budget for repairs in the future. Here are just a few tips to keep repairs at bay:
- Invest in chimney waterproofing – Waterproofing is one thing that can provide your chimney with decades of protection against water damage. And that’s good news because repairing water damage can be costly.
- Top your chimney with a quality cap – Chimney caps are affordable and effective. They are the only component designed to keep moisture and animals out of your chimney flue. So invest in a good one that will protect and prevent the need for repairs.
- Never miss an inspection – The #1 most effective and affordable thing you can do to stave off repairs is schedule a chimney inspection every year. By getting the eyes of a pro on every aspect of your chimney system once a year, you’ll know what kind of condition your chimney is in at all times – so you can be proactive and keep everything in great condition. Plus, it’s what the NFPA and the CSIA recommend.
- Use well-seasoned wood in your fireplace – Flammable, corrosive creosote is a natural byproduct of wood burning. But you can limit how much is left behind in your system by only burning seasoned wood. Green or wet wood has a higher moisture content, which means higher creosote production.
When Scheduling Repairs, Look for the CSIA-Certified Badge
We know that when you need to schedule chimney repairs, it can be hard to know who to trust. But when you’re weighing your options, make sure you’re only looking at companies that are CSIA-certified. There are no federal regulations for the chimney industry, but when you work with a company that’s CSIA-certified, you can be confident they’re highly trained, knowledgeable, and committed to ethical, quality work.
The CSIA is the only non-profit organization that’s 100% committed to educating and training sweeps, while protecting homeowners against scams, rip-offs, and the dangerous situations that can arise if the work is done by someone unqualified for the job.
So look for the CSIA certification badge. If they don’t have it, don’t risk it. Move on to the next company.
Need Chimney Repairs? We’re Here to Help
The team at Ashbusters Chimney is CSIA-certified and capable of taking care of any and all of your chimney repair needs. So whether you’re in Racine, Waukesha, or somewhere else in the greater Milwaukee area, when you need attractive, durable, effective chimney repairs, count on Ashbusters. Call 414-626-5636 or reach out online to request an appointment today. We’re here to help.