A chimney sweep specialist is someone who clears soot and ash from chimneys on a regular basis. The chimney draws the air above a warm coals or burning wood and uses the force of a hot column of air to make a downward draught that draws in more air and draws the smoke up into the house. Chimneys can be straight, angled or have many turns of direction. Hot air rises and cools while cold air descends. This creates a downward draft and when this happens the chimney can become blocked and the flue gushes out and/or burns up.
The main reason for needing chimney repair is that they are either damaged or faulty and/or they are leaking. If the chimney is damaged or faulty it is likely to stop functioning properly, even if there is no fire hazards present. If a damaged chimney is leaking the same is likely. You need to take action as soon as you can.
There are many different types of chimney repairs and you should seek advice before you opt for any one solution or approach. For example, the situation where a brick chimney is cracked, crumbling or seriously damaged, you may need a brick repair contractor to come in and replace the brick in the middle of the flue. This will prevent the dangerous gases that result from burning wood sitting in the flue being burned up. These situations usually occur when there is some damage to the flue liners (or the brick around them) and when the brick has failed completely. In these situations a replacement is not possible and a rebuild will be the best solution.
Another common brick chimney repair is when they are cracked or crumble and cannot be repaired by mortar. Often this will happen after a storm when the ground has been hit by hail and the wind has carried away some bricks on the roof. In such cases it is better to fix the damage to the bricks themselves then to try and repair the damage to the roof. A small replacement will suffice but if the bricks are rotten or damaged beyond repair then it may be better to replace the entire roof.
Cracks in the mortar joints are the other type of chimney repair which needs to be addressed. In these situations there may be a crack down the centre of the mortar joints and they cannot be fixed by using mortar. In these cases a chimney liner (an external sheeting) is used to fill in the crack. If this does not work then a new brick joint brick is needed which will be installed by a bricklayer.
If the mortar joints have cracked because they are not sealed then you need to repair the damage immediately before it gets worse. For mortar joints which are cracking or showing signs of damage then you need to seal them so that moisture will not enter the structure. There are two options for sealants; silicon-based sealants and acrylic sealants. Both of these are highly effective and long lasting. However, if you are having trouble sealing your walls because of cracking then you should consider replacing the mortar joints instead.
The other major type of chimney repair which must be addressed as part of your annual maintenance is the repair of the flue system. When undertaking a flue maintenance program it is best to get some professional advice and guidance from an engineer who will be able to give you advice on what your options are for repairing your flue. If you notice there is smoke coming out of your chimney then the chances are that there is also some damage to the flue bricks themselves. In these circumstances it is better to get a professional chimney inspection to locate the damaged bricks and rectify the same before initiating your chimney repairs.
Other things which you can look at doing is checking the inside of the chimney for cracks or gaps. If you can see signs of damage such as cracks in the mortar joints then you should take action before the problem progresses. Similarly, if you see any crack in the brickwork then you should fix it as soon as possible before the bricks start deteriorating. You can do this by using some heat resistant cement. Chimney repairs involving bricks can sometimes be complicated, but with a little help from an expert you should be able to complete the task without much hassle.