Chimney crowns, the concrete coverings that sit on the tops of chimneys, are very durable and perform well for years. Eventually, however, even the best-made structures can begin to fail. When a chimney crown becomes cracked or damaged, it’s important that the situation is addressed right away, before more extensive – and expensive – damage happens.
The chimney crown is always part of a thorough inspection performed by chimney service technicians. The goal is to catch early signs of compromise and get them fixed quickly.
Chimney crowns provide a secure barrier against rain water and debris. Water, when allowed into a chimney, can begin deteriorating the bricks and mortar of the chimney structure, leading to unsafe operating conditions and costly repairs. Obstructions such as bird nests and small dead animals as well as accumulations of leaves, twigs and other debris will create potentially dangerous drafting issues and are a fire hazard.
These and other problems can be prevented by scheduling an annual inspection and cleaning with a professional chimney sweep.
How to know if your chimney crown needs attention
When the chimney crown is sufficiently damaged, there are signs the homeowner can spot fairly easily. But remember: it’s always best to uncover the very early signs of damage before any serious problem begins. This is why inspections are so important.
Damage signs include:
Cracking: Visible cracks in the concrete forming the crown can be filled or sealed, if they’re still relatively small. Larger cracks might need more extensive repair.
Falling tiles: A damaged crown can lead to the falling of flue tiles. If you notice chunks of material at the bottom of the chimney, the flue lining may be falling apart. A compromised flue can result in a chimney fire.
Rust: Rust on the damper or in the firebox means water is getting in there somehow, possibly through a damaged chimney crown. Rust must be thoroughly cleaned, and the problem that caused it must be quickly repaired.
Wall moisture: When excess water enters a chimney, it often causes moisture on walls in the home adjacent to the chimney. This can be a sign of a faulty chimney crown.
Mortar joint damage: Water that gets into a chimney can damage mortar joints and cause them to start crumbling. If you see unusual particles at the bottom of the chimney or in the firebox, it may mean that the chimney crown is letting in water.
Dislodged bricks: Water seeping into cracks in chimney bricks exerts pressure and can cause the bricks to become loose and shift out of place. In cold weather areas, freeze/thaw cycles can wreak havoc with the bricks and mortar of a chimney, leading to major destruction and fire hazards.
While all of this may sound dramatic, the solution is fairly straightforward when you have a skilled chimney service technician assess and remedy the problem. If you’re noticing any of the above signs of chimney crown damage, contact Chimney Solutions of Indianapolis today to schedule a comprehensive inspection.
We service fireplaces and chimneys throughout the greater Indianapolis region, providing the best in inspection, cleaning, maintenance and repair. Call us today at (317) 757-6979.