Some Things You Need To Know About Your Chimney

Why is my Chimney Breaking Down?

The primary culprit for chimney breakdown is the acidic moisture that comes from condensed flue gases. This acidic moisture attacks the chimney from the inside. Years of normal use with hot and cold cycles and seasonal weather conditions all take their toll on a chimney.

“But my furnace chimney looks fine on the outside.”

Many chimneys venting gas or oil furnaces or hot water heaters may appear to be in fine condition on the outside. That is why a chimney may look good from the outside, but the inside can be totally different story! Yesterday’s chimneys were not designed for venting today’s more energy efficient appliances. Inside of the chimney is where most of the problems are!

A look at the inside of this same chimney shows how acid-laden residue from the furnace attacks the flue. The original clay liner erodes away and pieces of it start falling. (Old chimneys might not even have a liner.) While the mortar, bricks and/or clay lining is loose and falling, moisture has leeched through to the home’s interior walls. With continued use, more erosion will take place, possibly leading to leaks in the flue, complete flue blockage, or possibly even carbon monoxide poisoning of the home’s occupants.

Q. Where does the moisture come from inside chimney in New Jersey?

The advent of high efficiency furnaces have helped conserve the use of earth’s natural resources, and has also meant lower heating bills for the homeowners. New furnaces extract more heat from a given amount of fuel than the older furnaces. The combustion process is more thorough and less heat is lost up the chimney. Since less heat is sent up the chimney, the flue has seldom opportunity to “dry out” as less efficient furnaces of the past have allowed. Once flue gases drop to 120 degrees F, condensation begins. Herein lies the side effect of high efficiency furnaces – excessive moisture in the flue. Traditionally built chimneys with clay liners will not last under this moisture assault.

Q. What’s the Big Deal with a Few Cracked Flue Tiles in New Jersey?

It happens thousands of times each year. Damaged chimneys resulting in disaster. Carbon Monoxide leaks through cracks in flue lining and into your home. Even small amounts can make you and your family sick. There is also the risk of a chimney fire into a house fire. Highly combustible creosote can leak through even small cracks in the clay lining. Once ignited, a creosote fire can find its way though cracks, and dangerously increase chimney heat. Or the flames can simply penetrate cracks in the mortar and lining and ignite a home. In severe cases, the chimney erosion will lead to partial or complete internal collapse, blocking the flue and sending these poisonous gases into the home. A few cracked flue tiles is serious business!

But fortunately, the problems of a deteriorating gas or oil furnace flue can be corrected without completely rebuilding your chimney. Trust HomeToRoofing Specialists with your chimney repair!

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