5 Ways Winter Weather Can Damage Your Chimney

Chimney Cap Repair & Installation in Amherst, NHWinter is a festive time of year where family and friends often gather around a warm and glowing fireplace to spread holiday cheer. However, it is not always a merry and bright time of year for the chimney. In addition to brutally cold temperatures, the chimney also faces the brunt of wind, rain, and snow that winter weather often brings. The 2019-2020 winter weather season brought record-breaking precipitation. According to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there was a total of 7.71 inches of winter precipitation, making it one of the most-wettest periods in 125 years. Plus, much of New England was blanketed with above-average snowfall.

Damaged Chimney Cap

Since the top of your chimney rises above the roof, it is most vulnerable to the damaging effects of winter weather. High winds, pounding rain, sleet, and hail, can damage the chimney cap. A gust of wind can blow off a chimney cap already weakened by previous storms. A damaged or missing cap exposes the flue to rain, snow, even downdrafts.

The moisture can soften interior masonry and clay flue liner tiles, and rust metal components like the damper. Also, small animals and debris can obstruct the venting of smoke and fumes, causing dangerous carbon monoxide gas to seep into the living space.

Cracks in the Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is also vulnerable to wintry conditions. When the cement surface cracks, moisture can seep inside the chimney and damage its masonry walls. Also, the freeze-thaw effect can further accelerate the deterioration of the chimney crown. As the surface cracks absorb the moisture and freezes, the expanding ice crystals widen the cracks even more. Warmer weather results in a thawing process where further deterioration and erosion can cause extensive chimney damage.

Spalling chimney repair Swanzey NH Spalling Bricks

The freeze-thaw cycle is also damaging to the exterior of masonry chimneys and can cause spalling bricks. Both bricks and mortar are naturally porous materials. When you look closely at the bricks, you may spot tiny holes and crevices in the surface. Moisture collects in these channels where it may go through a series of freeze-thaw cycles every winter. It causes the bricks to spall or crack, leading to further deterioration. The moisture also softens and erodes the mortar leaving gaps in the mortar joints. In severe cases, spalling bricks can destabilize the chimney causing it to lean or even collapse.

Water Leaks

While spalling bricks, cracks in the chimney crown, and a damaged chimney cap enable water intrusion, damaged flashing is another source of a water leak. The flashing is a metal strip that seals the seam between the roof and chimney.   Stormy weather can damage the flashing exposing the seam for water to seep inside the gap.  Water stains on the ceiling or along the walls near the fireplace are often a sign of damaged flashing.

Rusted Damper

Water intrusion can cause metal components like the damper and damper assembly to rust making it a challenge to operate. The damper must be fully operable to vent dangerous fumes during a burning fireplace and to prevent water intrusion when the fireplace is not in use. A damaged damper also contributes to energy loss.

Now that winter is behind us, homeowners should ask their chimney sweep to inspect the chimney for winter weather damage. Making any necessary repairs now will ensure your chimney is ready for the next season.

First Thing

John RantaJohn Ranta
17:01 22 Mar 24
They arrived on time, worked quickly and showed me the results. Prfessional throughout. jr
william greenwilliam green
23:21 14 Mar 24
Really helped me out can't say enough good things highly recommend!!!! The young man that came to my home was very knowledgeable and friendly great attitude all around answered all my questions and left me stress free best of all left no mess.🤙🏻🤙🏻
Michael Dell'OrtoMichael Dell'Orto
18:39 14 Mar 24
Jaime ConleyJaime Conley
17:13 14 Mar 24
Sarah GilliattSarah Gilliatt
01:46 13 Mar 24
A very thorough and careful job done! Thank you.
Larry CookLarry Cook
15:11 07 Mar 24
I wanted to give 5 stars but they are very busy which meant I had a good wait for both the inspection/cleaning, then for a quote on repairs and then for the repairs. Their prices seemed a little high to me but I have nothing to compare with as they were highly recommended by someone I trust and other companies had plenty of negatives reviews which kept me from getting additional quotes. I am happy with the work and they promptly returned to fix a mistake that had been made. Chris the inspector, Jennifer in the office, and Alex and his repair crew were all pleasant and took the time to answer all of my questions. Alex and his crew even took their shoes off (it was winter) before entering my house without even being asked! So if you are not in a rush and want to ensure you chimney is as safe as possible then I think you'll be happy with Black Moose.
Rebecca DeFuscoRebecca DeFusco
22:35 21 Feb 24
After a recent sweep of our chimney, it was discovered that our flue tiles were cracked. Black Moose techs were hard working, detail oriented and professional! Nice jobs guys! See you next year for my cleaning!
Karen CKaren C
14:52 14 Feb 24
Excellent I highly recommend Black Moose Chimney and Stove; Kelly and Liam are awesome, they did a great job. Extremely professional, arrived early, went through everything with a fine tooth comb ensuring pellet stove was thoroughly cleaned. They also were respectful of my home, conscientious and cleaned up after themselves. Made sure stove worked prior to leaving and told me to call promptly if anything came up afterward. Will definitely use them again.
Denise ClarkDenise Clark
16:32 31 Jan 24
We've had Black Moose clean our chimney for a number of years.But recently, we had an emergency situation at our home involving our chimney & oil furnace flue, which was caked full of soot from a malfunctioning furnace. They came & cleaned out both flues in no time, even going up on the roof with snow on it! They cleaned up after their work in the interior rooms where the oil furnace and the woodstove are located. Great work. Reasonable prices. Very nice people. You can't go wrong with Black Moose.
Joe GJoe G
18:30 24 Jan 24
Goods: The technicians know their business, very efficient in cleaning/inspection along with cleaning up after the 'dirty work'.Others: Communications could be more effective. Despite early coordination about scope of work (multiple flues within same chimney) the estimate provided did not reflect this and the final invoice was significantly more than the estimate provided.Quote for follow-on chimney relining was significantly more than that offered by other companies in the area (and far more than neighbors experienced for similar work accomplished by other companies)