And One More Thing: Check Your Chimney Before El Niño Hits
If you're in the midst of getting your home ready for El Niño, don't forget your chimney. While roofs and gutters tend to get all the attention, your chimney is just as vulnerable to heavy rains, and it can also be a big problem for your home if there are any cracks or rusted-out spots. Here are five things you need to do or have looked at in order to make your chimney safe for you and your home.
Clean the Chimney Out
Technically, this is something you should do even if you aren't facing a winter of heavy rain. However, in a situation such as what might be coming up, it's especially important to ensure the soot is cleaned out of the chimney and any nests or animals have been removed. If it turns out the chimney needs other repair, that repair will be easier to do if the workers don't have to deal with surprises in the form of sharp animal teeth or pockets of soot falling onto them.
Inspect the Crown
Chimneys have a concrete apron around the exit point for smoke called a crown. This crown can crack over time, and water can seep into the crack and thus into your home. If water gets in and isn't stopped, it can cause the masonry in the chimney to deteriorate over time, leading to more cracks in the chimney and more expensive repairs. If any cracks are present in the crown, have them patched immediately.
Replace the Chase Cover
In addition to the crown, there's a surface called a chase cover. This is a horizontal metal panel that covers many chimneys (it's possible that you have a chase cover in place of a crown, too). It can rust easily, and if it rusts, it's also a candidate for deterioration, cracking, and letting water in. Have the chase cover inspected and replaced if there are any signs of rust.
Also have the nails in the cover inspected. Some installers place the nails that hold the cover on through the top of the cover, increasing the chances of a slow leak. If your chase cover is like this, you may want to have it replaced with one where the nails are in the sides of the cover and not the top.
Check the Cap
Without a cap, your chimney is basically an open hole in your roof. If your chimney for some reason doesn't have a cap now, get one installed immediately. If the existing cap is damaged, have it replaced so that no water can drip into your chimney.
Check the Spark Arrestor
The spark arrestor does what it says -- it stops sparks from flying out of the chimney and landing on your roof or in a nearby tree. It's also another point at which water can potentially get into the chimney.
Remember that even if the hole is on the underside of part of the chimney, water can run along surfaces, clinging to those underside areas. Don't assume you can leave a hole or crack open just because it isn't visible in a top view of the chimney.
If you want to arrange for a chimney inspection to ensure everything is in good repair, contact a chimney repair company now. One company you can consider calling is Clean Sweep.