Superior Chimney Services, Inc.

Chimney Freeze-Thaw Cycle in a Mild Chicago Winter

Chimney Freeze Thaw Cycle in a Mild Chicago Winter

Chimney freeze thaw cycle is a regular occurrence in Illinois, even with the mild winter we’ve been experiencing. Now with the week ahead, temperatures hovering around the 30 degree mark during the day, chance of snow multiple times and in the 20’s at night, is a perfect recipe for the chimney to have to endure repeated freeze thaw cycles. What does this mean and how can your home be affected?

What is a Chimney Freeze Thaw Cycle?

As we all know, living in Chicago, the temperatures are cold even in a mild winter. However, even in these conditions, a chimney freeze thaw cycle occurs. When it rains or snows, the chimney bricks soak up a lot of moisture. When night time hits and the temperature drops, everything begins to freeze. Yes, the moisture in the bricks freeze. Those ice crystals nestled in the bricks expand causing the bricks and mortar to crack. Not necessarily big ones, a hairline crack is all it takes for water leaks and compromise to begin.

I Don’t Use the Fireplace

Whether you never use the fireplace, have a gas fireplace or a woodburning fireplace, what happens outside during the chimney freeze thaw cycle is all the same. Many homeowners choose not to use the fireplace thinking, ‘if I don’t use it, I don’t have any expenses.’ Sorry to disappoint, but weather treats all homes equally regardless of how often or not you use your fireplace.

What Can Be Done About Potential Water leaks?

To begin, reaching the chimney this time of year takes a bit more caution/consideration. Superior Chimney uses the right safety gear to ensure safe access at your home. Once we come to your home, here’s some of what we may inspect:

1. Inspect the chimney cap. Is it properly installed? Are there gaps for critters or debris to make its way in? What about rain and snow? Is the chimney cap tilted where weather elements can make their way in? These are just a few general questions we will be exploring.

2. Inspect the chimney crown or chase cover. This is the concrete slab or metal top. Our certified chimney technicians will take a close look to understand its wear in order to determine if it needs maintenance/repair or does it need to be replaced. 

3. Check the brick-and-mortar joints on the chimney itself. Are there any loose bricks, or pieces of the brick falling off? Even if your chimney is made of stone, we’ll be checking for wear. Next, we’ll inspect the mortar. Is it worn down, are there missing pieces, are there cracks, small or large ones in the mortar.

By having these three items carefully inspected and fixed, you’ll ensure a dry winter and an event free Spring. So yes, it is January, and yes, you are still recovering from the holiday expenses of December, however, getting the chimney inspected and the fireplace cleaned and inspected will save you additional repair costs tomorrow.

Call Superior Chimney at 877-CHIM FIX 877-244-6349.

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