Most older houses in the UK have aging flues. It puts those houses at risk because older flues often need repair works done on them, or else they can catch fire. Homeowners in this country are strongly recommended to check their chimney flues for damages and fix them upon finding.
In nine out of ten times, a homeowner needs an expert to repair his flue. He can take up the work himself, but I don’t recommend DIY to them because they lack experience and expertise, and the price of inexperience is catastrophic at times. When it comes to chimney flue repair, inexperience might cause toxic gases to infiltrate into the living areas of the house; this puts everyone’s lives and well-being at stake.
I don’t have the money
Even though I recommend hiring a professional sweep for chimney repair, I am fully aware of the fact that they cost a large sum of money, which many homeowners are unable to pay. So whenever I hear someone saying “I don’t have money to hire a professional chimney sweep,” I don’t dismiss that as an excuse.
Hence, I advise every homeowner to get a fair hang of the flue repair work, so they could fix their chimney problems themselves, without having to call up a sweep. But while sharing flue repair tips with them, I advise them to keep in mind that they can never take on a professional sweep.
Assuming you have an older chimney at home, the first thing you need to do when repairing your flue is:
Clean the chimney
Clean the flue before you repair it. This is the first step taken towards repairing the flue. You may wonder why it’s necessary. It’s necessary because a chimney flue stays covered in dust and soot. If you don’t clean it beforehand, you may get fully covered in those flaky substances. Another reason cleaning the flue should be your priority is to be able to see the damage on its entirety.
Examine the chimney
After cleaning, do a thorough examination of the chimney. This assessment is necessary because it could tell you the extent of the damage. Seeing this, you can anticipate how long it might take you to repair the flue, and how much you’d have to shell out. Cracks in the chimney flue are very common, but if they are serious in nature, you might consider taking the whole structure down and then replace it with a new flue.
So a prior examination is necessary when you are up for repairing your flue.
What comes next after you clean and examine the flue is the removal of the bricks that are damaged. The problem is you can remove them only from the outside of the chimney; you cannot remove them from the inside.
You need a hammer and chisel to remove the bricks. Knock out the bricks with damage first and then keep them at a side. Keep as many bricks as you can because a damaged brick doesn’t have damages across all its areas; use the undamaged half and throw away the other half.
The removal of damaged bricks is to be followed by replacing them with new bricks. When selecting bricks, make sure the new ones have a color that matches the chimney. You may not find an exact match; in that case select any color that bodes well. Don’t forget to use mortar; as you use a layer of it, it becomes easy for you to keep the bricks tightly together.
Why is it essential? Because if the bricks are not tightly held with each other, gases may find an easy escape route and ooze from the tiny pores. Hence, use the layer of mortar carefully and make sure there’s no gap.
On the rooftop
Sometimes, clay tile liners undergo damages that you can fix only when you climb up to the roof. You can notice this type of damage in ceramic clay flue liners and in masonry liners.
One such damage is the top of the chimney missing bricks and mortar. You can fix this damage easily, but you have to be on the rooftop for that. Being on the top allows you to check the path through which the water enters into the chimney. Close this path, or else the flue would incur freeze damage.
Before you call it a day
You fix couple of damaged bricks doesn’t mean there’s no other damage on the brickwork. So be all eyes. There’s an easy way to identify old mortar; it chips and crumbles whenever you apply pressure on it using your fingers. So put slight pressure on the mortar and see if it crumbles.
If it does, then apply caulk over its surface. This can prevent the mortar from crumbling or chipping.
Remember, living with a damaged flue translates to putting your family at risk. You don’t want that, do you?
About the author:
Adrice White is an experienced Chimney sweep in Crowborough, East Sussex, TN6. He takes an interest in writing articles on smokestack cleaning. He has been in this field for the last 10 years. You can avail more information about Chimney sweep Tun