Wet Weather & Your Chimney: Preparing for Rain, Snow, and Humidity
The weather in middle Tennessee is just one reason why many families love living here — with four solid seasons and generally warm weather year-round, Nashville and the surrounding suburbs are great places to find your home. However, if that home has a chimney, be prepared to maintain it during times of rain, snow, and high humidity. With annual humidity averages ranging from 53% to 84%, the middle Tennessee area is prone to rain, dew, fog, and the occasional batch of ice or snow — all of which can impact your chimney.
Exposure to moisture can alter the state and structure of your chimney, especially if the water exposure occurs during a time of extremely high or low temperatures and for a prolonged period of time. Some of the most common results of chimney moisture exposure include:
Rust: Rust can take place on any metal part of your chimney, and is a common problem among chimney owners. Over time, it can deteriorate your chimney if not addressed properly. Keep an eye out for rust occurring on your chimney’s exterior, especially on the cap and the flashing. Also check for rust within the chimney flue and firebox, and on any metal chimney accessories. If you spot signs of rust, call a chimney inspector to take care of it immediately.
Creosote buildup: Creosote is a blackish-brown, tar-like substance that can build up inside your chimney flue with increased exposure to moisture, especially during the winter months. Cold air outside of your chimney creates condensation within the chimney when warm air from your fire is released through the flue. Similar to how your warm breath creates condensation in cold air, the hot flue air condenses and creates particles that adjoin to the interior of your chimney. Over time, creosote can increase the likelihood of a chimney fire. Check to make sure your flue is clean and creosote-free, especially during cold and humid seasons.
Masonry damage: If your chimney has a brick exterior, beware of of moisture damage to the masonry. Exposure to moisture can cause bricks to crack or spall (horizontal chipping), or even fall out altogether. Unfortunately, once a brick is damaged it becomes even more vulnerable to moisture — meaning that you should remedy masonry cracks and spalling as soon as you notice them to prevent further damage.
Leaking: Obviously, a leaky chimney is not safe or effective when it comes to creating a warm, cozy fire in your fireplace. If you hear sounds of dripping water coming from your chimney, see moisture in your firebox, or feel drafty, musty air coming out of your chimney during warm, humid days, then call an inspector to assess whether there is a leak. The sooner you can address a leak and reseal your chimney as needed, the less additional damage and danger your home will face.
The Chim Chimney team serves Hermitage, Williamson County, West Nashville, and beyond — contact us to learn more about how you can protect your chimney during any season.