Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moisture In Your Chimney

Is that dew on the grass? Most definitely.

What does this mean for the coming months?

Bottom line: "You want to keep moisture away from your chimney, bar-none," says Steven Scott, General Manager for Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC. "Moisture is masonry's nemisis. Anything you can do to protect your chimney's integrity from moisture is necessary at this point of the year."

Let me educate you a little bit about the different forms of moisture this time of year. The following are some key words that I'm going to briefly discuss: Dew point, relative humidity, snow, rain.

Basically, the "dew point" is the temperature that an allotment of air has to be cooled at constant pressure for water vapor to be condensed into water. (Which is, of course, dew). Looking outside this morning at the office (pictured above), you can see that the dew point was reached in this area.

Relative humidity is important to be aware of as well, this time of year. The higher relative humidity is, the closer the dew point is to the existing air temperature. When relative humidity = 100%, the dew point is the same as the temperature, and this means maximum water in the air. Obviously, this time of year, we experience higher relative humidity (especially in the early mornings and late evenings), than any other time of the year. (Hense, the higher propensity for rain and snow).

What does this all mean for your chimney & home?

Well, first and foremost, it means that you need to have your chimney cleaned and inspected before the colder weather sets in any more than it's already starting to. It won't be long before the dew will turn to frost, and the roads will be slick with ice. Let's expand on this a bit: Moisture in the air this time of year is a given; whether it be dew, frost, rain, or snow. When you light a fire in your fireplace, you're going to increase the temperature of your chimney from the inside out. Thus, frozen moisture will melt and find its way in. (Yep, that means any other moisture will get in much faster).

Second, it's a good idea to get your chimney sealed for the winter, to protect your masonry from the damages that moisture in the air can cause. This picture shows evidence of on-going lack of moisture protection: moss, evidence of efflorescense, and this particular chimney is in a state of disrepair.

Lastly, you may need an estimate on repairs. Don't let it go this far. There are preventative measures you can take to protect the integrity and life of your chimney.

Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC can help you with all of the above. We don't just give you estimates on repairs/ replacements that you don't need.

Just give us a call, and we'll get you scheduled with an appointment today. (360) 691-9828

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