If you’ve noticed a crystallized white substance or a whitish (or even brown, yellow, or green) powder around your chimney, you’re not alone. This is a common experience for homeowners with masonry chimneys, especially very old ones. And the substance itself can generally clear away just by brushing it, or it may even clear away on its own as the weather changes.
But it’s a sign of a much larger problem
Many people assume that the white deposits happen naturally as chimneys age, especially since a simple cleaning often clears it away. But you should know that efflorescence, the name for this occurrence, indicates a much larger issue with the structure of the chimney.
How does it happen?
The masonry that makes up your chimney naturally has salt particles within it. If water moves through the structure, the salt particles can dissolve. As water then evaporates outside of the walls, it can leave behind a salty residue, called efflorescence.
The problem with water
The main concern with efflorescence is that the amount of water required for efflorescence to show on the outside of your chimney should not be able to get through the structure in the first place. Water is one of the biggest threats to a chimney, according to the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America).
Water penetration brings to light problems with the structural integrity of the chimney, problems that will only worsen if you don’t take the proper steps to waterproof the chimney. These structural damages can result in a fire hazard, as fire is more likely to spread to the outside of the home if the chimney is not sound.
Call a chimney expert
Contact a chimney technician today for an inspection of your chimney to find out the level of water damage and to see what can be done to prevent further damage. Your local chimney experts can let you know whether it is safe to use your stove or fireplace and they can recommend the most effective waterproofing methods.
Contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. for chimney inspections and masonry repair in Minneapolis, MN. Call us today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS