Many homeowners are unaware of the fact that their chimney is perhaps one of the most vulnerable parts of their home. As the chimney of your house projects over the roof, it is more exposed to severe weather conditions and other problems than any other structure. While there isn't any set timeline on when you should get your chimney cleaned, the general consensus is that you should schedule a cleaning once you notice the creosote accumulating to 1/8 inch in thickness. Once the chimney is cleaned, the cleaner will use a camera to inspect the insides. Here are three things you should look for.
Damaged Mortar Joints
With time, the mortar joints will begin to crumble or crack. You'll want to pay special attention to the mortar joints to see whether they are still in good condition. If not, the bricks become vulnerable to water penetration. It's important to look closely, as you'll want to repair even the smallest hairline fractures you see. It's difficult to notice these imperfections without cleaning the chimney, as small fractures and cracks are easily covered by soot.
Buckled or Warped Metal Liners
Metal liners are designed to improve the overall energy efficiency of the chimney. While buckled or warped metal liners have been associated with carbon monoxide leaks and chimney fires, this part of the chimney is also susceptible to water damage. Buckled or warped metal liners may have some of their underlying metal exposed. Moisture in the air or water that has entered the chimney can easily cause the metal liners to rust.
Gaps in the Flue
The flue is the part that is closest to the outdoors, and, as a result, is most vulnerable to severe weather conditions. If there are gaps in the flue, the flue will allow water to penetrate into the inner chimney structure. This may end up damaging not only the bricks, but also other parts that are located deep inside the chimney.
Once all of the soot and dirt has been cleaned away, make sure that your chimney cleaning services also include a thorough inspection using a camera. The camera should be capable of providing a clear resolution of the conditions inside the chimney. This is your best opportunity to determine if there are any imperfections that need to be repaired immediately in order to prevent any water damage present from worsening and becoming a bigger problem in the future.