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Water & Mold & Your Chimney

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Mold in your Chimney

If you have ever had water damage in your home then you already know the damage mold can do. It is notoriously tenacious and can be a serious health hazard to you and your family. What most people don’t know is that your chimney can be accumulating water damage and mold without you ever knowing. Once there are signs it has already begun to take its toll.

Mold can get into your chimney in a variety of ways but the most common is water seeping into cracks in the mortar that holds the structure of your chimney together. As the chimney expands and contracts with the rise and fall in temperatures, both from the outside air and from fires being burned in your fireplace, the mortar can crack and break leaving gaps. Water can get into these gaps and begin to grow mold.

Any moisture that accumulates makes a breeding ground for mold spores. Make sure your chimney is waterproofed.

Any moisture that accumulates makes a breeding ground for mold spores. Make sure your chimney is waterproofed.

Mold reproduces by releasing spores into the air. These spores can be breathed into your lungs and cause serious health concerns from allergic reactions to irritating asthma to possible permanent lung damage. The best way to prevent mold from spreading is to stay proactive in preventing it from getting into your home. One of the most important steps you can take is to have your chimney regularly inspected and cleaned.

When a chimney sweep comes to your home and you have concerns that there is mold in the chimney the first thing they will do is inspect the chimney. This is done with a variety of techniques but it will most likely involve a camera that is fed up the chimney to examine the inside of the flue. From this vantage point the chimney sweep can see any cracks that may have formed in the interior that could contain mold. They will also inspect the outside of the chimney to check for cracks or other entrance points where moisture can accumulate. If mold is found they will take additional steps.

In order to remove any mold that may be present in your chimney the sweep will use a special type of soap that, along with water, will remove the majority of the mold. It may also be necessary to wash the area in a mix of bleach and water to destroy any remaining organic material. This should cleanse the area thoroughly. It is always important to let a professional remove mold as the process can stir up the dangerous mold spores that can get into your lungs or eyes.

In addition there are things you can look for to help identify mold. Mold is usually green, black, or white and has a distinct musty odor. If you suspect that there may be mold in your home seek professional help immediately. The longer you wait the more mold can accumulate increasing your chances of being affected by the dangerous spores. Always have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis and you will minimize the chances of having to deal with this potentially hazardous situation. That simple preventative measure will go a long way in helping you be worry free this winter while enjoying your fireplace.