Here in the Pittsburgh area, we’re not terribly far from the Atlantic Ocean, but did you know our weather patterns actually have a lot to do with what’s going on way over on the west coast? According to meteorologists, it has to do with wind patterns and how much water they’re pushing to the surface, which actually ends up affecting temperatures all over the country!
And apparently this year, they’ve done their analyses and we’re due for another classic Pittsburg winter – which means cold weather, and lots of snow, slush, and ice.
Now, we’re not weather experts here at Advance Chimney, but one thing we do know is how these elements can impact your chimney. When things get cooler and wetter, your masonry is more prone to experience damage and deterioration, so it’s important to ensure it’s adequately protected throughout it all.
But wait – aren’t bricks known for their strength and durability? Can a little snow and rain really damage them that much? Well, the truth is, water is one of the most destructive enemy’s your masonry can face! Fortunately, we have ways to protect it through any bad weather that comes your way. Learn about it all here, then give us a call to book an appointment with our team – we’d love to help you soon!
The Freeze/Thaw Process
One of the biggest things homeowners are surprised to learn about brickwork is that it is actually very absorbent, like a sponge. Water can soak in very easily, and once it does, it’ll break it down and start causing damage all throughout your chimney system.
The biggest issue water absorption leads to is the freeze/thaw process. Here’s a brief rundown of how the freeze/process goes:
- The absorbed water in your system freezes and expands, putting a lot of pressure on your system and causing small cracks to begin to form.
- When temperatures rise, the water melts, allowing room for more water to enter and fill in the newly formed cracks.
- Once temperatures drop below freezing again, all the water in your system freezes, expands, and causes even further cracking.
- Later, the water melts, allowing new water to enter and fill up any new formed cracks.
- Temperatures drop below freezing again… And thus, the cycle continues…
As you can see, this an extremely harmful cycle that can wind up causing quite a bit of damage over time. Think of all the time temperatures rise and fall above and below freezing in just one winter season! That’s a lot of freeze/thaw cycles in just a few months.
Other Water-Related Issues
Unfortunately, the freeze/thaw cycle is just one of many issues that occur when water enters your chimney system. Some other things to watch out for include:
- Rusted Metal Components: Water can quickly cause your chimney cap, flashing, damper, and other metal components to rust and break down if they aren’t properly installed or cared for. Most of these parts are necessary for keeping water and other harmful elements out in the first place, so call in a pro to ensure the job is done right!
- Rotted Woodwork: Another issue that occurs when water invades your chimney system is rotted woodwork. Any wood in your home that’s adjacent to your chimney will feel the effects of this, leading to some costly renovations in the future.
- Interior Staining: Along with rotted woodwork, many homeowners notice water stains on the walls and ceiling surrounding their fireplace. It’s no fun to live with these unsightly spots, and it’s another issue that can be expensive to fix.
- Damage to Your Crown: Your chimney crown plays a big role in directing water out and away from the sides of your masonry, so this is another component you need to ensure is adequately protected. We have the tools and products to make sure it’s standing strong and tall for the long haul.
These are the main issues we tend to face, but homeowners can also see things like decay, clogging, and more.
Repairs & Prevention
Now, if you have any water-related damages throughout your system, we would be happy to take a look and figure out what we can do to get things back to normal and working well again.
That said, we think it’s always better to prevent the problem in the first place! That’s why we encourage our customers to invest in waterproofing services. We use a product called ChimneySaver Water Repellent which is designed to effectively prevent water from entering (it just beads up and rolls off), while remaining vapor-permeable, so any pre-absorbed moisture can get out and stop causing damage.
As you can imagine, investing in the right crew and the appropriate products is essential when it comes to waterproofing! DIY is not recommended, as it can leave your system ineffectively protected and you’ll still wind up with damage down the line.
Give Us a Call!
Cold weather will be here before you know it, so invest in care from us now while there’s still time! Call today to book your appointment.