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Common Chimney Repairs

Help! My Chimney Needs Repairs!

Since every chimney is different, every chimney problem is different. And whether your system is smoking, leaking or cracking, the most appropriate response to a chimney issue is a thorough inspection, not only to get a close look at the obvious damage, but to seek out the cause or causes that led to that damage.

Many common repairs cost much less money when caught early. Early interventions also reduce the risk of fire.

Many common repairs cost much less money when caught early. Early interventions also reduce the risk of fire.

Over more than three decades, Clean Sweep of Michigan techs have come across just about any problem you can imagine, from masonry that’s so eroded that moss pretty much takes over the structure, to flues so caked with third stage creosote that a chimney fire was a foregone conclusion. Check out some of the worst horror stories on our Chimneys Gone Wild page.

More often than not, though, repair needs are a little more routine, and fall into some common categories, usually around the parts of the system that get the most wear and tear from the elements and/or the heat in your firebox.

A few of the most common chimney repairs:

Repairing Leaky Flashing

Flashing protects one of the most vulnerable points around your chimney: the area where the chimney and roofline meet. So if the flashing fails and can no longer shuttle moisture away, leaks are sure to follow. Installing, repairing or replacing flashing is custom work — the metal pieces that make up chimney flashing are specifically sized for every individual chimney — so it’s exacting work that requires an experienced hand. If you have a leaky chimney, Clean Sweep techs can inspect your system using our 25-point approach. If the problem’s with your flashing — or any other part of the system — we can make the right repairs.

Replacing Chimney Caps

At the top of your flue, a chimney cap is keeping a lot of what you don’t want in your chimney out, rain, snow, debris and animals included. But caps that aren’t properly installed can fly off with bad weather, and galvanized metal caps can begin to corrode and rust over time. So damaged or missing chimney caps often lead to leaks or animal infestations, and they should be replaced as soon as possible.

Repair Or Replace Chimney Damper

A properly functioning damper needs to be in place to close off the flue when it’s not in use, but it’s not uncommon for older throat dampers to rust, corrode or get stuck. At best, you’re left wasting energy — at worst, a stuck damper can make your chimney unfit for use. We repair damaged dampers and can also replace them with superior top-sealing dampers.

Seal, Repair Or Rebuild Chimney Crown

The chimney crown, built at the top of your chimney, is another common leak source. Since crowns get regularly battered by sun and moisture, cracks can be pretty common. We regularly repair small crown wash cracks with a waterproof sealant, and repair or rebuild more significantly damaged crowns.

Masonry Repair, Including Repointing

Bricks almost always last longer than mortar joints, so it’s not uncommon to see eroded, receding or cracked joints in a chimney with bricks that still have plenty of life left in them. To get chimneys like those back to proper working order, repointing — or removing those damaged joints and replacing them with new mortar joints — is usually the best course of action.

Repairing Or Replacing A Damaged Flue Liner

Your flue liner offers a lot of protection — it helps to keep dangerous gases contained, protects your masonry and nearby materials from extreme heat and moisture and can help ensure proper draft, too. So a damaged or failing flue liner seriously affects your chimney’s performance. Clean Sweep regularly installs HeatShield, which can be a great choice for restoring damaged chimney liner. Our techs can tell you whether HeatShield might be the right choice for your chimney.

Whatever type of repairs you need, Clean Sweep can help. And we back our repairs — all come with at least a one-year workmanship warranty, and many carry a 10-year to lifetime warranty. Give us a call — we’re here when you need us!

How Often Is Firebox Replacement Necessary

When most people purchase a home, firebox replacement is not something they expect to deal with anytime soon. It is true that some homeowners live in their houses for years and never need to replace it. However it can be dangerous to leave the original fireplace insert without proper maintenance.

Firebox Replacement - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MI

Over time, a person may notice that their firebox is visibly cracked. This can cause significant damage to the home if smoke and other chemicals are allowed to leak out. If there are noticeable cracks in the firebox, it may be time for repairs or, in some cases, an entirely new firebox.

Even if there are no visible cracks, it may be a good idea to take a closer look. Try scraping the outside of the firebox and see if any pieces crumble or fall off. If they do, it may be evidence of water damage or other serious issues. Anyone who suspects that they have this type of a problem should call a professional to take another look.

Having an annual fireplace inspection is a good idea even if there is no reason to believe that there is a problem. A professional inspector may be able to see signs of an impending issue and take care of them before they snowball. The average homeowner may think that they can easily identify any issues with their fireplace, but they could very well miss something vital.

Replacing the firebox may not be necessary as some issues can be solved with simple repairs. To avoid getting in a potentially hazardous and expensive situation, have the fireplace inspected by a trained professional every year. At the first sign of an issue, have someone with a trained eye come take a look and assess the situation. This is the best way to maintain the overall health of the fireplace.

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