Now that winter has arrived, New Jersey homeowners will soon be dealing with the issues of rooftop snow, cycles of freezing and thawing, along with other problems involving damaging winter moisture. Wintry weather can lead to a chimney expanding and contracting, causing gaps and cracks in mortar. These conditions can even cause mortar to crumble. Not having a chimney cap, or a top sealing damper on your chimney, can lead to harsh winter elements seeping into your chimney, creating severe issues. Although having a chimney cap isn’t required, it’s still an excellent idea and recommend by many chimney specialists. If you’re worried about your chimney this winter, here are some benefits of having a chimney cap installation, especially for harsh New Jersey winters.
Chimney Damage from Ice Damming
As temperatures drop and ice accumulates, ice damming is a common threat to New Jersey homes. Ice dams are ice ridges that develop on the edges of roofs.
As a result, water from melting snow fails to drain off a roof, causing significant damage to not only a roof, but to chimney masonry as well. What’s more, water can back up behind an ice dam and can seep into a house, damaging areas such as ceilings, water and insulation.
How Moisture in Chimneys Can Affect a Home
When a brick and mortar chimneys are exposed to moisture for a long time they can deteriorate faster. For example, water seeping into mortar joints can cause erosion, which weakens chimney bricks. If the chimney stones are moisture proof, they won’t be as likely to suffer from inclement winter weather.
On the other hand, even if the stones can resist moisture, the mortar bonding them together are still at risk for moisture damage. Some of the kinds of damage that can affect a home include those such as:
- Staining on the exterior of a chimney
- Stained interior walls
- Damaged wall coverings
- Household mold and mildew
- Blockage in the area where a fireplace is cleaned out
- Damage to a heating and cooling unit
- Unpleasant odors seeping into a house as a result of water combined with creosote from inside a chimney
- A tilted or collapsed chimney structure
Other Reasons to Have a Chimney Cap Installed
In addition to keeping out moisture from entering your chimney, installing a chimney cap can also prevent twigs, branches, leaves and other debris from accumulating.
It can keep squirrels, raccoons and birds out of your chimney that want to set up housekeeping. Often, pests will try to get inside a chimney, but they can’t get out and even die inside the chimney. Decay from dead animals can lead to stinky smells in a house as a result of flies and maggots.
What’s more, the absence of a chimney cap can cause smoke to be blown back into a house. Because a chimney cap has a flat top, it can stop downdrafts caused by windy conditions.
Another reason to install a chimney cap is because doing so can make your chimney liner last longer. Consider that when debris and moisture invade a chimney liner, deterioration can occur, so your chimney liner is less effective and doesn’t last as long.
Chimney caps can also prevent sparks and embers from running up a chimney onto a roof, which can cause a fire. This is one of the main reasons that some homeowners have chimney caps.
Considerations and Warnings
- After a major storm, be sure to do a thorough inspection of your chimney and roof.
- Have your fireplace cleaned by a professional chimney seep both before and following winter.
- Hire a professional to get rid of ice accumulation from your gutters after there’s been a period of freezing rain or significant rainfall.
For more information, call the professionals at A1 Everlast. We can thoroughly inspect your chimney and roof, preparing your home for the worst winter weather. Please contact us.