Steps To Take When Noticing A Leaning Chimney
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Is Your Chimney Leaning?

When you notice that your chimney is leaning, it can be a bit concerning, even downright scary. This issue is relatively common in western New York, especially with older, historic homes in Buffalo and Rochester. While a leaning chimney may be unsightly, it often indicates structural issues that need attention. Here, we’ll explore some common reasons why your chimney is leaning and the steps you should take to fix it.

leaning chimney in buffalo NYCommon Causes of Leaning Chimneys in Western New York

Our lush, green, western New York landscape with sweeping lakefront views is the crown jewel of the Buffalo-Niagara region. However, it also presents challenges for masonry chimneys. 

Freeze-Thaw Cycles 

The continuous freeze-thaw cycles can ultimately produce a dramatic effect. The extreme temperature fluctuations that we experience in Buffalo’s eerie winters can cause cracks in your chimney’s foundation. Water seeps into these tiny cracks and pores, freezes, and expands, causing the footing to shift and crack even more like after a minor earthquake. Over time, this repeated process can cause your chimney to tilt.

Settling Foundation 

Like any structure, your house can settle over time. If the settling is uneven, it can put additional stress on your brick chimney, especially if weakened. This causes it to tilt. Of course, seismic activity can also damage the masonry, resulting in a leaning stack.

Soil Erosion

Soil erosion from heavy rains and lake-effect snow compound the problem. Drainage issues around your home can erode the soil supporting your chimney’s foundation. This loss of footing can cause your chimney to lean as if breaking away from your home.

Construction Defects

It’s rare, but it does happen. The demon causing it to lean might be improper construction during the initial chimney building process.

What to Do If Your Chimney Is Leaning

Homeowners shouldn’t ignore a leaning chimney. Here are the dos and don’ts:

  1. Don’t Use Your Fireplace: First, stop using your fireplace, stove, or any other heating appliances attached to the chimney. Using heating appliances with a leaning chimney can be dangerous. Avoid using it until a qualified chimney professional assesses the damage and resolves the issue.
  2. Do Call a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep: Next, call Felgemacher Chimney and Fireplace if you reside in Amherst, Orchard Park, Geneva, and surrounding western New York townships. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certifies chimney professionals like Felgemacher. Our CSIA-certified sweep will thoroughly inspect your chimney to determine the cause and severity of the leaning. We can also assess any potential damage inside the flue and recommend repairs per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards and Codes.
  3. Do Get Estimates for Repairs: Our chimney repair professional will recommend the best action to fix your leaning chimney. Depending on the severity of the lean, repairs may involve shoring up the foundation, rebuilding sections of the chimney, or potentially even full chimney reconstruction.

Early Detection Can Prevent Future Damage

With annual inspections and routine maintenance, you can address potential chimney issues that may even prevent a leaning chimney. 

Regular Inspections: Schedule annual chimney inspections with a CSIA-certified sweep. Early detection of problems can prevent a minor issue from becoming a major repair.

Proper Maintenance: Regularly clean your gutters and downspouts to avoid water damage around your chimney’s base.

Winter Impact: After heavy snowfalls, check for signs of roof leaks or ice dams that could contribute to foundation problems.

You can address a leaning chimney and ensure your home’s safety and structural integrity by taking prompt action. Remember, a leaning chimney is a serious concern, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a certified chimney sweep.

leaning chimney in rochester NYWe Repair Leaning Chimneys – Western New York

Is your chimney leaning? If you suspect a leaning chimney, avoid using your fireplace and contact us as soon as possible to schedule a professional inspection. Felgemacher Masonry & Chimney provides certified chimney inspections, cleaning, repairs, and rebuilding throughout northwestern New York. Call (716) 907-4914 in Buffalo, NY, or (585) 308-4914 in Rochester, NY, to schedule a chimney inspection today! You can also contact us online.