Chimney problems aren’t exactly rare but they can be very varied. From a birds nest to a lightning strike and everything in between.
A very common problem that we solve for people. Drafting is one of those problems where a customer may think it is being caused by one factor when it can in fact be completely different. Common symptoms of drafting problems are smoke hovering in fireplaces and appliances, poor performance, over performance, smoke escape in back into the room and smoke moving from flue down another. Only proper diagnosis of the problem can allow the problem to be resolved.
Chimney stacks (above the roof level) are very prone to weathering. This can lead to a deterioration of the rendering, brick work and capping. This will cause cracks that can penetrate into the fabric of the building. Showing up sometimes as staining or damp patches on ceilings and walls. A severe chimney fire in the upper level of the chimney shaft can also have the result of cracking the chimney stack.
These cracks which are an expansion from the inside out will also let rain water to penetrate into the fabric of the building. Lastly even chimneys that do not appear to be cracked can actually be porous and wind driven rain can soak in the structure of the chimney in large volumes.
A chimney fire occurs when a build of soot, soot/tar or other debris within the chimney flue catch fire. Chimney fires by their nature are sudden and dramatic. They can cause temperature inside the flue to spike very quickly to far beyond what the flue liner or shaft wall is designed to tolerate.
It is this sudden and dramatic increase in temperature that causes the damage. All chimneys should be properly surveyed after every chimney fire, regardless of whether or not you let it go out itself or if the fire brigade have to extinguish it. The damage can range from slight hairline cracking to complete collapse of the flue liners or shaft walls. In all cases there is now an increased risk of Carbon Monoxide and smoke escape.
Period and older properties will have been constructed in a method that means they do not have a separate flue liner within the shaft. These chimney shafts would have been finished with a mortar layer over the brick or stone when the chimney or house was built. This layer however will deterioriate over time and can now have left timber roof beams, floor joists etc. exposed.
This can be a serious fire risk to your property and may not cause damage while in everyday use but during a chimney fire the temperatures can rise enough to cause an ignition or exposed timber beams. This is a very common and very serious problem.
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