If your home has a fireplace, you may start to suspect that the old chimney may need repairs. If so, look for the following three interior signs that moisture is severely damaging your fireplace's old brick chimney.
White Stains on the Bricks
One sign that your brick chimney is sustaining water damaged is the presence of white stains on the inside brick walls. Known as efflorescence, the white powder causing the stains are made from minerals inside the bricks. When water starts pushing through the bricks, the minerals are pushed out with them and build up on the surface.
To see if there is any efflorescence on the inside walls of your chimney, use a flashlight to inspect the interior. When the light shines on the white powder, it will glisten as the minerals reflect the light. Especially if the walls of the chimney are coated with it, efflorescence is a sign that water has penetrated the interior of your chimney.
Pieces of Mortar Are Found in Your Fireplace
Finding pieces of white mortar in your fireplace is another sign that moisture is damaging your chimney. As the water starts pushing through the cracks in the bricks, the mortar holding them together cracks under the pressure.
When combined with the presence of efflorescence, cracking and deteriorating mortar is a sign that your chimney is severely damaged. The rate at which deterioration may increase rapidly if left unrepaired, potentially making the infrastructure of the chimney unstable. Over time, the chimney will collapse.
Wallpaper Starts Peeling
If you have wallpaper above your fireplace, look for signs of bubbling or peeling from the top of the fireplace to the ceiling. This is a sign that the moisture has built up so much inside the chimney that is it leaking out into your home's walls.
Eventually, the water will not only deteriorate your chimney, but it will also weaken the wall so much that both the wall and chimney behind it could cave in, causing massive damage to the room in which your fireplace is located. If you see this combined with the other signs above, you should have your chimney inspected immediately before using your fireplace again.
If you find any of the above signs, moisture is likely damaging your fireplace's brick chimney. You may want to contact a company that specializes in chimney repair, like Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service, to have them inspect your chimney and make any necessary repairs before the water causes too much deterioration and increases the risk of your chimney collapsing.