As winter sets in and temperatures continue to drop the desire to cuddle up in front of a warm fire crackling away in the fireplace becomes irresistible. In a season of heavy fireplace and wood stove usage, homeowners are often faced with the need for essential maintenance, including chimney repairs.
…but is the winter the best season for those repairs? Is it even possible to get the maintenance needed done during these cold months?
At Top Cat Chimney we understand the need to have the job done and done well. Our highly trained and experienced team are ready to keep your fire burning, even in the cold of winter. However, this season doesn’t come without its challenges and your maintenance may need to be held out until spring.
Top Cat Chimney can help you navigate all these questions, so we can keep you in front of the warm glow of your fire all season long.
Challenges of Winter Chimney Repairs
Why are wintertime chimney repairs often a challenge?
❄️ Temperature Extremes
Winter brings low temperatures, often dropping below freezing. Materials like mortar need to cure before they are effective. Low temperatures cause fluctuations in the time it takes to cure, which makes it difficult to set properly.
Freezing temperatures can freeze the water content in mortar, as well. When frozen, water expands thus compromising the structural integrity of your chimney. In cold weather, we use special materials and techniques that are needed in order to get the repairs done correctly.
???? Limited Working Hours
Daylight is in short supply during the wintertime which means jobs that need lots of light have to be done within a short time frame during the day. The total amount of days needed to do a job is often much more in the winter, as progress is hindered by these shortened daylight hours.
⚠️ Safety Concerns
Winter brings with it snow and ice. Repairs that take place outside have to work around these elements and safety becomes a real issue. Surfaces get slippery and wet as water turns to ice. It is necessary for workers to use special gear made to work on these slippery surfaces and extra measures need to be taken to ensure that everyone involved is safe and secure throughout the process.
????️ Moisture Management
Because snow doesn’t flow off and away from chimney surfaces, the chimney itself is exposed to long and stagnant exposure to moisture. Moisture is the enemy of brick and mortar, and over time will cause chimneys to crumble and deteriorate. Repairs due to moisture require a high level of attention to manage the chimney’s exposure to the elements.
???? Frozen Components
Chimney caps, dampers, and other components that make up a working chimney are susceptible to freezing as temperatures drop. Many repairs require these components to be disassembled and reassembled. Frozen components slow down the repair process and require special de-icing agents to help thaw frozen parts.
Preventing Winter Weather Damage to Your Chimney
While undertaking chimney repairs during winter is often feasible, preventing the need for repair is always the best strategy. Here are some proactive measures to protect your chimney from winter weather damage:
- Regular Inspections: Making sure your chimney is in good health starts with regular annual inspections – and catching small faults before they become costly problems. The best time to have inspections is in the spring and summer months. Top Cat Chimney has a team of well trained chimney techs that can spot potential threats to your chimney and instruct you on measures that will help you avoid further problems.
- Chimney Cap Installation: The chimney cap sits on top of your chimney and keeps debris and animals from getting inside your chimney, all while allowing smoke to escape. It is a necessary part of any good chimney system, especially during the winter. Snow, ice, and other winter debris will find their way into your chimney where they can wreak havoc on your flue. By keeping moisture out, a chimney cap helps to maintain the structural integrity of your chimney.
- Waterproofing: Before the temperatures drop, it is important that your chimney is protected against water. A professional waterproofing job by Top Cat Chimney will help prevent the freeze/thaw cycle from devastating the brick and mortar in your chimney. When ice forms, it expands and cracks the brick and mortar which is why waterproofing is so important. The last thing you need is your chimney crumbling down because of freezing water forcing cracks in your brick and mortar.
Need Fireplace Repair Services? Call On Us
If you have important maintenance and repairs that need to be done, don’t fret. Top Cat Chimney is your first call. Our techs will inspect, diagnose, and repair whatever is keeping you from enjoying your wood stove or fireplace this season.
We can help you determine the depth of the problem, what kind of repairs are needed, and when the best time to do those repairs will be. Call us today or book online to get your inspection scheduled.