Chimney Repairs During The Off Season
After experiencing the worst blizzard in more than a generation, Buffalo and Western New York residents are thawing out as warmer temperatures finally arrive. There were more than seven feet of snow, with 80 percent falling over the Christmas 2022 weekend in many areas around the region. Many residents in downtown Buffalo and elsewhere were trapped in their homes and had to be rescued by first responders. As the Buffalo Blizzard of 2022 enters history books, homeowners must schedule a chimney inspection to prepare for repairs during the off-season.
Chimney Cap and Crown
The upper-most part of the stack, the chimney cap or flue cover and crown, could have cracks from the weight of snow accumulation alone on top of the structure. Just six inches of compact snow weighs as much as an SUV! Not to mention the damaging effects of more than 70 mph winds that paralyzed the area. Then it’s a double-whammy when the snow melts and water seeps inside the cracks, jeopardizing internal components such as the masonry walls, flue liner, and damper. It can also become a health hazard when the humid temperatures inside the flue create a breeding ground for mold and mildew growth. Depending on the damage, you may need to replace the chimney cap or flue cover. In addition, the crown may need to be resealed or rebuilt.
The base, cap, and step flashing seal the seam where the chimney and roof meet. The airtight seal prevents moisture, insects, and debris from invading and damaging the chimney. However, the heavy snow accumulation that blanketed many rooftops may also have damaged the metal flashing, especially in areas surrounding North Tonawanda, which reported the heaviest snowfall in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls-Rochester metropolitan areas.
Brick and Mortar
Residents from Mount Vernon to Point Breeze and other towns near the lakeshore may have suffered the most masonry damage. The combination of heavy snow, ice, and lake flooding is enough to cause brick and mortar to crack, chip, flake, and spall. In addition, moisture can leak through even the tiniest gaps in the mortar. A chimney inspection may reveal holes in the masonry, missing bricks, and flue liner cracks from the moisture intrusion. When severe damage occurs, the chimney may lean, meaning it is unstable and in danger of partial or complete collapse.
The fireplace damper is a metal device that controls the draft inside the chimney. It brings in oxygen to maintain a fire and prevents heated air from escaping when the fire burns out. With so much rain and snow in the region, the damper or its rubber gasket may need repair or replacement. Our chimney professionals often recommend installing a top-mount damper when the throat damper is no longer functional.
The Blizzard of 2022 may be over, but more rain will come. The rainiest weather in the Rochester, NY, area typically occurs in the spring, where it rains nearly 30 percent of the time during the season. As a result, the chimney professionals at Felgemacher Fireplace Shop highly recommend waterproofing the chimney after making masonry repairs. It will help protect the masonry from the damaging effects of moisture and ice.
The terra cotta clay tiles that line most flues in Williamsville, NY, Erie County, and other communities must also have an inspection for damage from moisture intrusion. The flue liner is a vital safety component as it keeps the intense heat and flames of the appliance away from nearby combustible materials such as the wood-framed chase, attic, and roof deck. A weakened flue liner increases fire risk and toxic carbon monoxide gas exposure.
It is advisable to avoid using the fireplace or stove until you have a Certified Chimney Professional® examine the chimney, venting system, and attached heating appliances like the fireplace or stove.
Chimney Repairs Near Me
With Spring and Summer on the way, it’s time to think about making those chimney repairs your sweep recommends. From chimney and fireplace repairs to stoves, supplies, and accessories, the Felgemacher Fireplace Shop has everything your hearth desires. Visit us at 2727 Broadway, Suite 5, in Cheektowaga, NY (midway between Buffalo and Rochester). Call (716) 482-1820 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today!