When is Chimney Repair an Emergency?

chimney in need of repair

Knowing when to call for emergency repair

As ancient British folklore has said, shaking hands with a chimney sweep will bring you good luck, what can you expect when you shake the hands of a foundation, masonry, or roofing professional? Yes, one of the three could bring you the person you need when you need chimney services, depending on what it is you need.  

When it comes to Servicing a chimney, it isn’t a one call does it all sort of job. A professional chimney sweep can clean the chimney from top to bottom, all the way into the flue.  A masonry can repair a brick chimney that has missing mortar and bricks as well as replaced the metal flashing around the base.  Then a professional roofing contractor can repair or replace the metal flashing around the base of the chimney.

When you need Chimney services and repairs, who should you call first? It is unlikely that you’ll know if flashing is bent or missing unless you’ve braved the ladder to the roof top. One way you could tell if the flashing was bent, damaged, or missing would be rain leaking into your house around the chimney. That type of chimney services would be either a professional chimney sweep or a professional roofing contractor.

In that case, choosing the chimney sweep would be recommended if you haven’t had your chimney, fireplace or flue professional cleaned recently. If you’re like most homeowners, you probably haven’t had a professional chimney services that includes cleaning the chimney, fireplace, and flue. If you don’t use your chimney, calling a roofing contactor would suffice as they can provide chimney services with repairs. If your chimney needs professional chimney services like cleaning, they can advise you at that time.

How do I know if my chimney needs a new liner?

When you’re noticing that there is a fast deterioration of your chimney’s inner walls, it is time to call professional chimney services.  A chimney liner made of clay tile or cast-in-place  lifespan is typically around fifty years. A stainless steel flue liner has a lifespan up to 20 years, depending on the quality of the liner material.

There are four reasons why a professional chimney services specialist recommends a new liner:

  1. Damaged or deteriorating: When the chimney flue liner shows cracks and gaps, it has become a safety risk. Those cracks and gaps are allowing carbon monoxide and hot embers through the chimney, increase the risk of a house fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. A deteriorating chimney flue can also possible structural damage that needs the attention of a foundation contractor.
  2. Condensation: When the temperature in a chimney flue is too low, it creates condensation and causes to corrosion. Condensation is also can be an indication of poor airflow, making the fires inefficient and producing less heat while building up creosote buildup.
  3. A Different Fuel or New Fireplace Insert: If you have converted your traditional wood-burning fireplace to a gas fireplace, or you’ve had a new insert installed, you may not have the correct venting requirements.  Professional chimney services can determine this for you and advise accordingly.  
  4. Damaged or No Liner: If there isn’t a liner or the existing liner is corroded, deteriorating, or warped, it is time to have a chimney line installed or the current one replaced.

When should a chimney be replaced?

The chimney on your home has an important job. It directs flames, heat, and dangerous gasses from  your home, keeping your family and home safe. It is extremely important to schedule regular cleaning, inspection, and maintenance for the chimney to make sure all is working as intended. These professional chimney services can catch issues with your chimney before they become dangerous, expensive, and life threatening problems.

It is rare, but there are times that a chimney needs to be totally replaced. One example would be that the chimney has deteriorated so far that it is a structural liability, like a leaning chimney. Even a slightly leaning chimney can lead to a dangerous situation if not addressed and repaired. Other issues that your chimney may be having:

The Crown

The very top of a chimney is called the crown. The job of the crown is to keep debris and water out of the chimney and possibly cause damage to your home. Indications that your chimney crown needs chimney services would  be  any of the following: cracks, damper rusted, firebox rusted, mortar joints damaged, bricks spalling, and interior walls around the fireplace show signs of water damage.

Bricks and Mortar

When you notice and loose or missing bricks, missing mortar joints, it is time to call for professional chimney services. Cracked, loose, or spalled bricks allow serious damage to happen if not  taken care of immediately. This is something a professional masonry can do with tuckpointing. This includes removing the damaged and old mortar and install new mortar to make the chimney stabile again.

Can you repair a chimney in the winter?

Traditional chimney repair services should not take place in temperatures of 40 degrees or lower. When the temperatures get that cold, they typically are associated with wet weather, which masonry materials will not cooperate and stick. It is best to have your chimney serviced in the spring when any masonry repairs have the chance of setting and sticking.

Will homeowners insurance cover insurance chimney repair?

The chimney is considered as part of a home’s structure. Every homeowner’s insurance policy will vary, but as HO3, the typical homeowner’s insurance will  cover chimney repairs for damaged caused by a covered peril, like storms and wind damage.

What homeowner’s insurance does not cover is the basic maintenance or uncovered perils. Like the roof, if the insurance adjustor determined that the chimney damage is due to owner neglect, they will deny any claim.

chimney repaired

How much does it cost to repair a leaking chimney?

Chimney leaks are a common issue, especially for older homes or homes with brick chimneys. They begin to leak, which can originate in a number of areas of the chimney  then seep down into a home’s structure.  From there, it goes beyond chimney repairs and creates structural issues where mildew and mold form.  

In 2017 the average chimney and fireplace repair was between $85 and up to $1600.00. Water leak repairs at the chimney crown or roofline averaged between $150 up to $350 on average.

One thing is for certain when you hire a contractor for chimney services and repairs, you want to hire one that has proven experience in how to repair a chimney. A chimney leak isn’t always what it seems to be, so when you have water stains on the ceiling and walls close to the chimney, it may not be the chimney leaking but the roof.

The chimney on your home is a part of the structure, whether you use the fireplace or not.  Having it inspected once is recommended regardless, and if you use the fireplace for heat, it should be a “must-do” on your homeowner’s list of chores and tasks. Call (516) 986-3979 with All American Home Improvement Inc today for your chimney repair in Long Island and Farmingdale, NY needs.