Company Blog

The Role of Your Chimney Crown

Your chimney and fireplace are made up of a lot of important parts, all of which need to be in good working order to guarantee a safer and more productive burning season. And one of the biggest things your chimney needs to combat is leaks and water exposure, which makes things like your chimney cap, your flashing, and waterproofing services really important.

But there’s also another piece of chimney anatomy that’s vital to keeping your masonry protected from damaging rainfall and melting snow – your chimney crown.

What Is the Chimney Crown?

So, what is the chimney crown, and where exactly is it located? Well, the crown is located at the very top of your chimney, and it’s meant to send water out and away from the sides of your masonry.

Because of this, it’s imperative that crowns are built to slant downwards slightly, as well as hang over the edge of the chimney by at least two inches. This will ensure water doesn’t merely slide down the walls of your chimney, where it can then soak into the brickwork and cause damage.

What are crowns made from? Well, unfortunately, many crowns of the past were made from a basic mortar mix, which doesn’t hold up well to the elements. These crowns wind up facing a lot of wear and tear, typically cracking and breaking down much sooner than expected.

If you want a crown that will stand the test of time, it should be made from a cement-based mixture. It will also need to be properly fitted to your specific needs and meet all overhang requirements.

Water & Your Masonry

Curious about what exactly happens when your brickwork and mortar are exposed to water and excess moisture?

The Role of Your Chimney Crown - Poughkeepsie NY - All Seasons Chimney imageWell for one thing, your masonry itself will start breaking down. You’ll notice all sorts of decay and deterioration, and your mortar joints will begin to crack and crumble, too. Before you know it you’ll likely need parts of your brickwork replaced, as well as tuckpointing services completed, to get your masonry looking good and standing strong again. And using your fireplace before having these addressed can put you at serious risk of experiencing exposure to harmful fumes or even house fires.

The various components surrounding your chimney will likely suffer, too. Cracks and gaps in your brickwork give your water pathways to pool on metal components (triggering rust and deterioration), and it’s not uncommon to notice issues on the inside of your home, too, like wood rot and stains on your walls and ceiling.

Combine all that with mold growth, clogs, and foul odors, and you’ve got a whole mess of problems on your hands.

Finally, there’s the freeze/thaw process to consider. Here in Poughkeepsie, we know about the freezing temperatures of winter all too well. Every year temps drop below freezing multiple times a season, causing us to do everything possible to stay inside where it’s warm and safe.

But what does this mean for your chimney that’s left outside and exposed? Well, water that’s already been absorbed into your brickwork (they’re more sponge-y than you’d guess) will freeze, expand, then push on your bricks, causing cracks to form.

The water will then eventually melt, leaving behind new openings for even more water to enter. This process typically occurs over and over again throughout these colder months, meaning you’ll finish off the season with a lot more damage than you started with.

In the end, investing in things like a properly built chimney crown, a well-fitted chimney cap, professionally installed flashing, and waterproofing services is imperative to keeping your system better protected all year round.

All About Our Crown Repair Services

If your crown is facing damage, we’d be happy to do all we can to fix it up. That said, oftentimes damaged crowns need to be rebuilt entirely. Fortunately for folks all throughout Hudson Valley, we are experts at both installing and repairing chimney crowns, and we’d be happy to set you up with the perfect fit for your system.

And if your masonry or any other chimney components are facing damages because your crown was broken or deteriorated, we can address those, too! We offer rebuilding services, relining services, and can install any necessary components, like new flashing or a sturdy chimney cap. Be sure to ask about a top-sealing damper, too!

Finally, once all repairs are completed and your system is ready for use again, be sure to schedule waterproofing services. Our waterproofing products are exceptional at keeping water out of your porous brickwork, while still allowing pre-absorbed water (as well as any necessary fireplace fumes) to eventually vent out. Store-bought paints and sealers aren’t vapor-permeable like our products are, meaning water can’t escape and deterioration will only continue to occur.

In the end, there’s simply no point in investing in a long list of repairs only to leave your brickwork unprotected, so don’t wait to get those waterproofing services on the books right away!

We’re Ready for Your Call

From sweepings to repairs to installations and more, there isn’t much we can’t help with in terms of fireplace and chimney care. And if you need your dryer vents cleaned, we’d love to assist with that, too!

Just give our experts a call at 845-245-6787, so that we can be there for you every step of the way. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Creosote & Chimney Fires: Everything You Need to Know

Owning a fireplace is a dream for many, which is likely why fireplaces are on so many people’s home-buying wish lists! And despite gas systems being mess-free and convenient to use, there are lots of homeowners who still prefer the classic ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace over any other options on the market.

We get it – it’s hard to beat the sounds and smells of crackling firewood, and it creates an aesthetic that is simply impossible to replicate.

That said, with these wood-burning systems comes responsibility, and if they aren’t properly maintained, you’ll experience a lot of inconvenient and potentially dangerous situations.

One threat we’d like to elaborate on is the risk of chimney fires. Learn more about the causes and signs of chimney fires (and how to avoid them) by reading below, then call on us for all of your chimney and fireplace needs. All Seasons Chimney has got your back!

The Dangers of Creosote

Now, the biggest cause of chimney fires is excess creosote accumulation throughout your flue.Creosote & Chimney Fires - Poughkeepsie NY - All Seasons Chimney

What is creosote? Creosote is black or brown substance that forms from the byproducts of burning wood. As these water vapors, gases, unburned wood particles, and other assorted minerals make their way to the top of your flue, they’ll cool down, which causes condensation to form. This results in sticky residue (creosote) clinging to your chimney’s interior walls.

Creosote comes in a few different forms. It can be light and flaky (the easiest to remove), tar-like and sticky, or glazed and glossy. One thing all forms have in common is flammability, which means that if you have enough of it (and your internal flue temps are high enough), you’ll be more at risk of experiencing a chimney fire.

Some wonder if it’s possible to avoid creosote from forming altogether. Unfortunately, as long as you’re burning wood, at least some creosote will form in your flue. The good news is that you can slow the rate at which it accumulates by maintaining good draft and airflow, keeping your chimney warm (a top-sealing damper is great for this), and using only properly seasoned wood in your fires.

Signs of a Chimney Fire

Now, it probably goes without saying that using your fireplace after a chimney fire is a big no-no. But at least, you’ll know for sure that you’ve had a chimney fire, right? They’re surely loud, obvious events?

Unfortunately, no. Some are noisy and explosive, but the majority are actually slow-moving and occur quietly without the homeowner even knowing something is amiss.

This is an unsettling thought, as one could continue using their system, totally unaware they’re facing a lot of risks (like house fires or carbon monoxide exposure) by doing so.

Because of this, we encourage our customers to note these common signs that a chimney fire has occurred:

  • You have puffy, honey-combed creosote in your flue.
  • Your chimney cap, damper, tv antennae, and other metal components on or near your chimney are warped and discolored.
  • You notice smoke escaping through your mortar joints when operating your fireplace.
  • Your flue tiles are cracked or missing big chunks.
  • You notice creosote flakes on your roof or even on the ground outside of your chimney.
  • Your roofing materials show signs of damage.
  • There are cracks and gaps in your exterior masonry.

Avoiding Chimney Fires

chimney house fire

Getting repairs done as soon as possible after a chimney fire is a must, but the best route would be to avoid them from ever occurring in the first place. The best way to avoid a chimney fire is to schedule regular chimney maintenance. This starts with annual inspections, which give your sweep the opportunity to check for creosote, clogs, and any other issues that may hinder performance or safety.

Next, don’t wait to schedule necessary chimney sweepings! If your chimney tech says you have dangerous levels of creosote present, using your fireplace will put your home and family at great risk. Get your sweeping booked right away, and don’t light any fires until it’s completed.

And be sure you’re only hiring the best for the job. Here at All Seasons we have 25 years of experience serving Poughkeepsie and its surrounding areas, we’re fully insured, we’re CSIA-certified, and we have an A+ rating with the BBB. If you want the job done right, we’re the team to trust!

Reach Out Today With Your Chimney Concerns

Whether you’re concerned about creosote levels, think you may have experienced a chimney fire, want to schedule a sweeping, or have any other chimney or fireplace-related concerns, please reach out today to get in touch with our team. We’d love to help you out through it all!