How To Handle Common Winter Fireplace Issues
Winter is your fireplace’s time to shine, but it’s also when it suffers the most damage. Frigid temperatures, frequent use, and moisture can all wreak havoc on your chimney in the winter, keeping you from enjoying those cozy nights by the fire. Luckily, most winter fireplace issues are relatively easy to fix—if you catch them in time.
3 Common Winter Fireplace Issues and How To Fix Them
Think you might have a chimney problem? Learn what causes the three most common winter fireplace issues and discover how to solve them.
Cold Air Coming From a Gas Fireplace or Wood-Burning Fireplace
Your fireplace is supposed to keep your home cozy and warm during the winter—but sometimes it does the opposite. Damaged fireplaces can pull cold air in from the outside, leaving you with a chilly home and a heater that never goes off. So, what causes cold drafts to enter your home from your fireplace?
The most common cause of a winter fireplace draft is a faulty or open damper. When you don’t have a seal between your building and the outside, air pressure draws cold air in. Until you create an airtight seal between your fireplace and your home, you can’t prevent cold air from entering your home.
The Fix: Replace Your Chimney Damper To Prevent Fireplace From Leaking Cold Air
Your fireplace should already have a damper, which is designed to seal your chimney when it’s not in use. If you don’t have a chimney damper, installing one will likely fix your cold air issue. Even with a damper, you might experience annoying air leaks. These are often the result of a dirty or warped damper, which can’t create a seal.
Installing a new top-sealing damper or replacing a damaged one is the first fix you should try. If that doesn’t work, you may need to install fireplace doors in front of the fireplace or use a chimney balloon until you can get a chimney inspection. A chimney expert can determine other causes of a leaky fireplace and help you create a sufficient seal.
Water is one of your chimney’s biggest enemies. It can seep into bricks and mortar or drip down your chimney, causing extensive structural damage. And when you add dramatic winter temperature changes into the equation, that damage can get even worse.
It’s not easy to identify external water damage on your chimney, but it’s pretty easy to identify water issues in your fireplace. If you notice dampness or dripping water inside your firebox, you have a problem—and you need to fix it ASAP before it gets worse.
The Fix: A Chimney Cover for Winter
There’s a simple, effective fix for a damp fireplace: a new chimney cover. Your chimney cover surrounds your flue and slopes down to ensure water can’t enter, and the cap covers your flue. Together, these simple features prevent water from getting inside your house from your chimney.
If you think your exterior brick is damaged, your chimney crown and cap won’t help. Instead, you’ll need tuckpointing to replace damaged bricks and mortar and seal your masonry.
Are You Suffering From a Damp Chimney?
Explore our chimney repair options to learn how Approved Home Improvements can help.
Animals Entering Your Chimney
Have you ever noticed a rustling or knocking sound coming from your fireplace? A bird or other animal may have chosen your chimney as its winter refuge, which can be dangerous for you and your family.
When animals decide to use a chimney as their new home, they often build nests inside the flue. Nests are highly flammable and can cause a chimney fire.
Even if an unwanted critter seems harmless, you should never ignore an intruder in your chimney.
The Fix: A Chimney Sweep and Caged Cap
If you think your winter fireplace issues are the result of an animal, it’s best to call a wildlife removal expert. Once you’re sure your chimney’s animal-free, it’s time to book a chimney cleaning. Your provider will remove animal nests and debris to make sure you don’t start a chimney fire next time you use your fireplace.
To prevent animals from entering your chimney in the future, you need to install a chimney cap with a cage. The cage keeps animals out while providing a space for smoke to escape your home.
Need an Emergency Chimney Repair? Choose Approved
Are you experiencing any of the above winter fireplace issues? It’s time to call Approved Home Improvements. For only $119, we clean your chimney, inspect it for problems, and provide written documentation of our recommended repairs. If you choose to move forward, we complete your repairs in 10 days or less—or we work for free. Plus, we offer a lifetime warranty for any chimney repairs in St. Louis, as long as you schedule a yearly chimney sweep.
Don’t let frustrating winter fireplace issues keep you from enjoying your chimney. Give us a call today to learn more about our chimney services or schedule your crazy cheap chimney sweep.