When my friends were repairing their new property in Connecticut, they focused on everything from the bathroom to the attic but ignored one key element of the house.
They moved in once the renovations were complete, and it was only two months later that it began to rain. That’s when the house began to smell damp.
At first, they didn’t seem too bothered by it, but then, a few weeks later, the floorboards near the fireplace had started to stink.
It was only when the fireplace started to leak did they realize it existed: the chimney. There was a chimney that they had completely ignored and overlooked when renovating the house.
But my friends aren’t the only ones.
Many homeowners often ignore the chimney. They seem to be under the impression that these are sturdy and simple. The misconception is especially true for masonry chimneys, and many think, ‘Well, they’re built from bricks! It’s not like a little rain or snow should matter to them.’
But the fact is that chimneys need to be looked after and maintained too. Chimney cleaning and maintenance are just as important as cleaning the attic.
Even though chimneys are constructed from strong masonry and metal materials like brick, mortar, flue tile, steel, and cast iron –these are affected by direct contact with water.
Chimneys are not, to state the obvious, unbothered by weather.
And to stress my point of how we ignore chimneys, many people couldn’t even name three parts of a chimney which is what I would like to share today.
The three basic parts of a chimney we should know of- and we have probably heard of but never considered getting into the details of why.
Let’s start with the chimney cap
As the name suggests, chimney caps are placed at the top of the chimney. And just like a cap, they protect the chimney against snow, debris, bird droppings –(yuck, I know), and rain.
They also have a wire at the sides to completely block any animal from getting in.
I guess Santa won’t be able to come down your chimney if there’s a chimney cap on it. But then again, you won’t have any rats climbing down your chimney either, so it’s a win-win!
The second part you need to know about is the chimney crown. Now, the chimney crown is a slab of concrete placed at the top of a masonry chimney. Its purpose is to prevent water and snow from gushing down your chimney when the weather has a bit of a mood. (I mean rain!)
This crown starts from the liner and goes on to the
outside of the chimney. And it has a slight taper so that the water and snow don’t collect on top of it.
In retrospect, it is exactly what was ignored in the renovation of my friend’s house and led to costly repairs. One call to this repair service could have saved her thousands of dollars in damages.
Aah, the chimney flue. This one inspired the Floo Network in the Harry Potter series. While it was the wizards who traveled through the Floo Network, the one your chimney has transports the smoke from the fire up, up, and out of your home.
This needs to be inspected by an inspection company once every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
They also recommend a thorough chimney inspection and cleaning because the accumulated soot and debris create a fire hazard.
So, now you know three important parts of a chimney and why they need to be in proper shape. Take care of your chimney, and your chimney will take care of you.
If you are in New Britain, CT, or Farmington, CT, you can contact them to schedule regular chimney sweeping.