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The Benefits of Chase Covers Through Changing Seasons

Chase Cover Seasons Image - Littleton CO - Mountain Man FireplacePrefabricated fireplaces are a cost effective alternative to masonry chimneys; however, these heating appliances still have components that need to be regularly cleaned, inspected, and maintained. One of the most important parts of any prefabricated fireplace is the chimney chase cover.

What is a chase cover?

Sitting at the top of the chimney and protecting the flue, the chimney chase cover has a similar to function to chimney caps on masonry chimneys. Traditionally made of metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, or copper, chase covers protect the top of the flue, letting smoke and gas safely draft out without letting debris, animals, or water in.

Chase covers are designed to extend over the sides of the chimney chase. This allows moisture, ice, rain, and snow to drain onto the roof instead of onto the sides of the chimney. This design features helps protect the chimney from water entry, as well as keep the chimney chase from being damaged by water.

Why is my chase cover important?

The chimney chase cover is the first line of defense for your fireplace, protecting the chimney and flue against water, animals, and debris. This important function protects the chimney year round; from keeping water out during spring rains to preventing leaves from falling in during the autumn, chase covers keep your fireplace burning safely throughout the changing seasons.

Because of the important function of the chimney chase cover, any damage to it can create serious problems for your fireplace system. Water entry is a serious concern for prefabricated fireplaces; not only can water damage and rust the metal fireplace components, but it can also lead to mold and mildew growth in the chimney.

Leaves, sticks, and other falling debris can also pose a problem for unprotected chimneys; without a chase cover, debris can damage the flue and cause chimney blockages that prevent proper venting and drafting. Animal entry can be equally problematic, with birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals causing damage – and uncomfortable odors – in your fireplace and chimney.

Signs your chase cover may be damaged

While prefabricated chimneys do not last as long as their masonry counterparts, with regular upkeep and maintenance they can continue burning safely and efficiently. However, overexposure to the elements, strong winds, poor construction, and other problems can all cause damage to your chase cover.

One of the most common signs of chase cover damage is rust or staining on the sides of the chimney chase. This kind of staining indicates that the metal of the chimney chase cover has begun to rust and deteriorate; by the time rust stains occur on the side of the chimney chase, the damage is often bad enough to cause chimney leaks. Even without staining on the sides of the chimney chase, the presence of any water inside the fireplace indicates a chimney leak.

Chimney chase covers are important to protecting your prefabricated fireplace during the wet and cold months of winter – and throughout the rest of the year. To have your chase cover inspected, repaired, or replaced, contact the experts at Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today!

By Jake Johnson on October 14th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

How Snow and Ice Impact Your Chimney

When the weather outside is cold, snowy, or icy, our fireplaces keep us warm and comfortable inside our homes. Unfortunately, winter weather can have a serious negative impact on our chimneys. How snow and ice impact your chimney-Evergreen, Colorado- Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney, INC-w800-h800

Snow and ice can be the roughest weather conditions for your chimney system. The combination of moisture and freezing temperatures can cause major chimney and masonry damage, often in as little as one season. Because of this, it is important to have any damage repaired as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse during winter weather.

How do snow and ice damage my chimney?

The primary way that snow and ice impact your chimney is through water damage. While water damage can occur at any time of year because of rain, hail, and even water from sprinklers, it is most common in winter because of the freeze thaw cycle.

The freeze thaw cycle damages masonry by creating progressively larger and larger cracks and holes. Bricks are naturally porous, meaning that they can absorb small amounts of water at any time. While strong, undamaged bricks may only take in a miniscule amount, masonry with cracks or holes – no matter how small – can absorb more than the usual amount. As this water freezes in cold temperatures it expands; this creates a larger area of damage that will allow even more water to be absorbed in the future. The freeze thaw process is so harmful that masonry can crack and spall in as little as one winter season.

How can I prevent damage from snow and ice?

The best way to protect your chimney against damage from snow and ice is through preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance keeps your fireplace and chimney in good condition all year round, making it less susceptible to damage from snow and ice during the winter.

One way to protect your masonry from water damage all year round is through waterproofing. Professional waterproofing is very different from painting or sealing your chimney with a regular commercial product; professional-grade SaverSystems sealants are designed specifically for use on permeable brick. Our waterproofing products block water from being absorbed by the brick while still allowing gasses to pass through. This keeps the chimney venting safely while also protecting the bricks and mortar against damage from moisture or the freeze thaw process.

Another way to keep your chimney in good condition all year round is by having a regular chimney inspection. A yearly chimney inspection can help spot areas of damage long before they turn into major problems. This can be key to fighting chimney damage caused by snow and ice; if small masonry cracks or holes are identified and repaired early, it can prevent damage from the freeze thaw process from occurring. This can help extend the life of your masonry and save you money on costly future repairs.

Snow and ice can have a major impact on the safety and stability of your chimney system. To protect your chimney against future damage from winter weather, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today!

By Jake Johnson on March 1st, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

A Small Chimney Leak Does Not Have to End in a Nightmare

Every homeowner fears water damage to their home. Whether the water drips from the ceiling due to a torn shingle or the basement fills with a few inches of water after a heavy rain, water can cause serious damage to a home and the bank account. An area that could present problems with water damage is one that few people think about: the chimney. Many wrongly regard the chimney as a strong, indestructible structure designed to survive the elements. While chimneys do live outside, they are not completely resistant to weather, especially not water.

Water Damaged Chimney - Evergreen CO - Moutain Man Chimney

Water can do a surprising amount of damage to a chimney, starting with the outside of it. Masonry chimneys are built with materials like brick, mortar, concrete and stone, and each of the materials aside from stone are susceptible to water absorption. The absorption of water alone is not much of an issue, but when the temperatures fall below freezing, the water becomes problematic. Below freezing, water undergoes continuous expansion and contraction due to the freeze and thaw cycle. Therefore, the water inside the masonry materials also experiences this movement, which degrades the strength of the materials. Issues like cracks in the chimney, missing mortar, and even collapse can result from this freeze and thaw cycle of winter. Fortunately, cracks and missing mortar can be repaired before they result in a collapsed structure. Then, a preventative permeable sealant can be applied by a chimney specialist to keep water from entering the structure in the future.

Water can also affect the inside of the chimney if it is allowed to leak in. First, the water will rust out the metal flue lining. This then exposes the interior of the chimney to the same water damage that the outside experiences. A rusted flue liner full of cracks and holes may also expose the house itself to the high heat of the fire, which could cause an unintentional house fire. The water could also drip down the chimney and rust out the damper assembly, preventing proper smoke ventilation. Water damage may also become evident inside the home, with water stains on the ceiling and walls surrounding the chimney. The hearth can also become damaged after long-term exposure to water. Preventing water from leaking into the chimney is as simple as having a chimney expert install or repair the chimney cap or chimney crown. Both of these fixes are much less expensive than repairing water damage.

Water damage is insidious and can cause thousands of dollars in repair before you even realize it is a problem. Avoid these high costs by having an annual chimney inspection, where a professional can catch water damage in the very first stages. If you live in central Colorado near Evergreen, contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney for a professional consultation.

By Jake Johnson on October 31st, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment