Do houses need chimneys?

chimney on a roof

Keep your chimney at its best

What can make a house more pretty during the holiday season than a decorated chimney or fireplace? Lights and other décor on the chimney’s exterior and the fireplace mantel trimmed in garland and Christmas cards adorning the manger scene, while the family sits around the burning fireplace – this is what memories we make of. Until the chimney is leaking cold air or rain that is and then you need chimney repair, which can take the beauty of the holiday season away, for a short time anyway. 

What can bring the mood down faster than that happening, right? Therefore, it is important to have regularly scheduled chimney repair and inspection by a professional contractor. Many times, the inspection is free, and if there is a cost, it will be deducted from the chimney repair estimate if chimney repair work is done. 

What is the difference between stack and chimney?

Well, it would depend if you are using it as a noun or a verb. The definitions are as follows. As a noun, the difference is a chimney is a hollow column or vertical tube that emits gas, smoke, and solid matter including the by-products from burning carbon or hydro-carbon fuels. A stack is a pile.

As a verb, the difference is that they reference a chimney to climbing by pushing with your back, feet, and hands against the sides. A stack is to assemble a stack or to add to an existing one.

If you are referring to the chimney and “smokestack”, The main difference is that a chimney is in a residential setting and has a flue on top. Smokestack in terminology for industrial uses, such as steam locomotives have smokestacks where the smoke and steam from the engine, aka the exhaust, escapes the smokebox of the engine.

Do taller chimneys draw better?

Taller is better to accumulate greater pressure variance due to the column of warm air created inside the flue. For every cubic foot of lighter than a cubic foot of cool ambient air, a twenty-foot tall chimney will draw double what a 10-foot-tall chimney will. Building codes may vary from city to city, but the basic requirements are for a chimney to be 3-feet above the roofline and 2-feet higher than other parts of the roof that is within 10-feet of the chimney.

Why are chimneys crooked?

There can be a variety of reasons why chimneys lean, with most causes being weather-related. For instance, if the mortar isn’t sealed properly upon construction, the weather can erode the mortar. High winds can catch a tall chimney and if strong enough, cause it to bend/lean, and if a radio or television antenna is attached to the chimney, a high wind will bend the antenna, putting stress on the chimney.

Another cause is the sulfurous chemicals that come from the coal or fuel oil while using the fireplace will attack and weaken the mortar as well as the flue. The flue can be preserved by having a ceramic flue liner installed. Whether or not a crooked chimney requires chimney repair is totally up to the homeowner and whether it is causing problems, like leaking cold air and/or rain.

Some say that in homes older than 60 years, the chimneys are crooked by accidental design. Consider that most of the house was built by hand without the use of power tools and computerized equipment. Thus, as they built the chimney, it would get a bit crooked at the roofline. For a multi-storied house, on each floor, the chimney would get a bit crooked as well.

Why do old chimneys lean?

One theory to this question is the colder North wind keeps the north side marginally colder for a longer period than the Southside. The other theory, more engineering thought process, is that masonry chimneys lean because of their weight, which can be many tons, in a concentrated small area. This stresses the importance of a chimney being built on a footing of concrete.

Other reasons that can make a chimney lean other than the footing is shallow or undersized, is the footing has deteriorated or is non-existent. Poor soil conditions can cause a chimney to lean.

a roof with moss growing between its bricks

Does homeowners insurance cover chimney repair?

To an insurance company, the proper workings of and safety of a chimney is the homeowner’s maintenance responsibility no, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover any chimney repair. This includes any chimney work your chimney may need from the masonry to the damper or replacing the cover.  Any of the following can damage a chimney: 

  • Disasters, “natural” occurrences
  • Water and weather weaken the mortar and eventually the bricks
  • Repeated use that builds up the creosote
  • Poor workmanship

A chimney and fireplace can be a beautiful addition to any home. For older homes, it was a means of keeping the home warm in the winter because central heat and air have not always been around. They used to in earlier years, as this country was being settled for cooking. 

You should perform your own cleaning once a month, but we recommend professional cleaning once a year, preferably just before winter use. Need chimney cleaning or repair in Goshen and Louisville, KY? Call 502-228-7717 today for Assurance Roofing.