Is It Safe To Use An Old Chimney

Is It Safe To Use An Old Chimney

Older homes have an array of maintenance issues that need fixtures. Especially with the old chimney and fireplaces, you cannot afford to overlook any faults and perform a chimney inspection before use. However, do they pose a threat to the owners or it is safe to bypass them?

Back then, around 50-60 years ago, chimneys were mostly masonry based, or there were block chimneys. What is the importance of looking after chimneys, you will find below.

Importance Of Chimney Liners

The difference between newer and older homes is that older ones never had chimney liners. You should get one real soon if your chimney does not have one because of the following reason.

  1. Chimneys that are not lined release harmful gases into your home.
  2. Chimney will run efficiently if they are lined and you will not get any draft problems too.
  3. Condensation piles up in unlined chimneys. In winter the snow freezes and thaws. This cycle will damage your chimney beyond repair over time.
  4. If you are burning wood in your fireplace, the condensation can also wear out your chimney. Moreover, the tar and creosote that build-up is highly flammable and a potential threat to your family.
  5. As mentioned above, older chimneys were unlined since they were not included in the building code back then. Newer insurance policies don’t cover unlined chimneys. So you need to update your structural plan to claim the insurance for changes.

Block Chimneys Vs. Brick And Mortar Chimneys

As with all things old, brick and mortar chimneys are far better at performance than their modern counterparts. The fired bricks have more resilience. This is the exact reason why 1800s homes have excellent working chimneys. As far as the structure is concerned, block chimneys nowadays are essentially encased in bricks and are prone to cracking, leakage, and more similar problems.

Old Mortars

Older chimneys face weathering effects and their bricks and masonry are at more risk. Keeping into consideration their construction mixes determines their power to withstand the weathering effects. But half a century is a long time and after that, the chimney needs either rebuilding or repointing. Repointing is the grinding of half an inch of the old mortar and adding fresh mortar to it. Rebuilding on the other hand is a grueling process. It involves dismantling the exterior structure with existing or new bricks.

Waterproofing The Chimney

As the bricks wear out they soak the water from the rain, snow, and ice. This can cause a leaking chimney if it is on the shadier side of the home. The heat from the sun will not be able to dry up the moisture from the bricks. Over time, the bricks will hold up water and cause substantial damage to the chimney during snowy weather.

Replacement Of Chimney Crowns

The chimney crown is the cement part in the chimney top that keeps animals, birds, rain, and other debris from entering through the chimney. Older chimneys usually have missing crowns. Crowns are prone to damage and have cracks due to weathering most of the time. If there are cracks found, there are good materials available to coat or fix your chimney.

Clearing The Combustible Buildup

Nowadays chimneys are installed with zero clearance padding. This was not a hazard many years ago but nowadays a certified chimney specialist needs to determine if that is a point of concern for your older chimney and fireplace.

Removing The Debris And Other Obstructions

Older heater chimney flues can become obstructed with all sorts of debris like leaves, twigs, soot, and dead birds. Take the services of a chimney specialist who can clean up the obstacles to keep your chimney in working condition. If the obstacles pertain, they will hinder the exit of carbon monoxide gas. This gas is extremely hazardous for your home. If cold and flu are a norm in your family, carbon monoxide can be the main reason.

It is always safe to hire a certified chimney contractor Columbia MD who can come over and give your chimney and fireplace a thorough inspection. This way you can be assured that both of these are working in optimal condition. The expert will analyze the interior and exterior. If there is any issue, it will be rectified and fixed instantly.

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