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The Rundown on Chimney Mold

Molds can pose serious health risks to you and your family. Don't allow them to flourish in your chimney. Make sure water and moisture stay out!

Molds can pose serious health risks to you and your family. Don’t allow them to flourish in your chimney. Make sure water and moisture stay out!

Mold is something you never want in your home, and most people think of the basement as the most common area for mold growth. However, if you have a leaky chimney with water penetrating your chimney walls, your chimney can be a prime spot for mold growth. Mold can spread quickly through your house, so if you have chimney mold, it should be removed as soon as possible to keep you and your family safe from the adverse health effects breathing in mold spores can cause. Chief Chimney Services would like to answer a few questions for you about chimney mold to inform you how to be on the lookout for a mold invasion of your fireplace and chimney.

What causes fireplace and chimney mold?

According to the website Mold Advisor, unused fireplaces are the most common places for chimney mold to develop. The dark, damp, and poorly vented unused fireplace creates the perfect environment for mold to grow. The warm summer months, when you are not using your fireplace, is the perfect time for this to occur. The most likely fireplaces and chimneys to develop mold growth have leaks somewhere in the chimney because water is needed to allow mold to grow. Chief Chimney Services can not only take care of removing chimney mold, but we can also repair leaky chimneys to keep water out which lowers the possibility of mold to even occur.

What are the signs of chimney mold?

If the mold has spread, you may see mold growing on the bricks of your outer fireplace or even on the walls or ceiling of the room that contains the fireplace. If you do spot mold growth on the outside of your fireplace or in the room, call Chief Chimney Services immediately to have us inspect the inside of your chimney for more mold. Most likely, the mold is unable to be seen because it is only growing on the walls of the inside of your chimney. However, you will probably notice the distinctive musty smell of mold coming from your fireplace. You and your family may also be suffering from respiratory problems due to breathing the mold. If you suspect chimney mold, again call us as soon as possible to inspect your chimney and fireplace and remove the mold.

What are the adverse health effects mold can have on me and my family?

In the beginning, mold can cause breathing problems similar to the common cold with sneezing, coughing, headache, runny nose, and a sore throat. However, prolonged breathing of mold spores can cause serious illnesses like asthma attacks, chronic sinusitis, allergic reactions, and pneumonia.

How do I remove chimney mold from my fireplace and chimney?

You are strongly advised to allow professionals like Chief Chimney Services to remove all of the chimney mold growth as it can be a hazardous job. However, if your doctor okays it, you can clean up any exterior mold from bricks by using an antifungal cleanser and a stiff brush. Be sure to wear a breathing mask when cleaning up mold.

If you have any other questions about chimney mold, contact Chief Chimney Services today. Our staff is happy to assist you quickly with this possibly dangerous problem.

Help, My Chimney Stinks!

A stinky chimney is an indicator of an even greater chimney problem that exists or can possibly exist in the future. To get to the bottom of it, let our experts at Chief Chimney help you out.

A stinky chimney is an indicator of an even greater chimney problem that exists or can possibly exist in the future. To get to the bottom of it, let our experts at Chief Chimney help you out.

We all want the same things from our chimney systems. We want a chimney that vents properly and thoroughly. We want a firebox and flue that provides the protection from high heat that they were designed to provide. We want a system that keeps moisture from making its way into the interior of our chimney — and the interior of our home. And we want a chimney that doesn’t stink.

As CSIA-certified chimney professionals, Chief Chimney technicians are focused on helping our clients get all of that from their chimney systems — optimum performance, optimum levels of safety, minimum levels of moisture intrusion, and a pleasant absence of stink. If you’ve been frustrated by a stinky chimney, we can help.

Chimney Odors Are A Warning Sign

The thing about chimney odor that we often don’t think about as we’re turning up our noses: It’s helpful, in a sense. That’s because ultimately, chimney odor is an indication that there’s a bigger problem going on in your chimney or with the use of your heating appliance.

A Musty, Dank Odor

If the smell you’re noticing is dirty, musty and dank, that’s most likely related to moisture, and very possibly is coming from mold growth. If you have mold or moisture, odds are you have a chimney leak.

Chief Chimney technicians can inspect your system thoroughly to figure out what’s allowing moisture to get into your chimney — which can be anything from a cracked chimney crown to damaged flashing, or something as simple as a missing chimney cap. When we find the culprit or culprits, we can make repairs to get rid of your leak — and get rid of that smell!

A Singed, Smoky Odor

Even though you’re routinely lighting a fire in your fireplace or stove, you shouldn’t smell a smoky odor in your home —your chimney is meant to carry away the byproducts that contribute to a smoky odor. So if you smell (or see) a lot of smoke when you’re using your appliance or in between uses, that’s an indication of a problem either with your venting system, or your burning practices.

If there’s a problem with your chimney’s draft — the upward movement of air that carries out combustion byproducts and smoke — you’ll most likely get an indication of that through a smoky stink. If you haven’t had the chimney swept in more than a year, there’s a good chance your problem is excess creosote buildup. But the problem could also have to do with chimney blockages, wind-induced downdrafts or a variety of other issues. We can inspect your chimney system to find your issue and correct it.

Smoky odors can sometimes just be the result of less-than-optimum burning practices, though — even something as simple as neglecting to open your flue completely during your fires.

Burning anything other than seasoned or kiln-dried cordwood — like wood that isn’t properly dried, trash or Christmas trees — can also cause your fire to produce excess smoke and excess creosote. In the case of burning green or moist wood, it can contribute to the development of troubling Glazed Creosote, which is extremely combustible, has a particularly strong odor and is really difficult to remove. If your flue has glazed creosote, we can remove it, and bring your system back to proper (and less stinky) condition.

If you have questions about the best burning practices and chimney odor problems, we’re always happy to help our valued clients. Just give Chief Chimney Services a call!

Tell Me About Chimney Mold

Water in your chimney allows molds to thrive. This is not a good thing. Make sure to waterproof your chimney.

Water in your chimney allows mold to thrive. This is not a good thing. Make sure to waterproof your chimney.

As chimney professionals, a lot of what Chief Chimney Services technicians will talk to homeowners about regularly focuses on preventing fire hazards, maintaining proper draft and keeping up with regular maintenance. It’s also important for us to talk about something that might seem a little less obvious with your chimney system: mold growth.

Mold can and will grow and spread just about anywhere it gets access to moisture and food (like the building materials that make up your home). So if moisture makes its way into your chimney — through damaged masonry or other damaged components — that dark, enclosed and moist space can make a perfect home for mold. Since our chimneys are largely dormant for months out of the year, and Long Island humidity contributes a healthy share of moisture just about year-round, we need to be particularly aware of chimney mold here.

Why Do I Need To Know About Chimney Mold?

Mold growth creates stains and smells, and those annoyances are reason enough to not want it in your home. But related health issues are more concerning. Airborne mold spores have been shown to contribute to a variety of health issues, including respiratory problems, skin and eye irritation and longer-term illnesses. Certain types of mold — so-called “black mold” — are toxic, and have been linked to severe issues from pulmonary illnesses to nerve damage and more. People who already struggle with asthma and other respiratory illnesses or have weakened immune systems have been found to be particularly susceptible to the effects of mold. So it’s important to know about mold growth, and to deal with it quickly if it’s found in your home.

How Do I Know If There’s Mold In My Chimney?

It’s possible that you’ll see the signs of mold on or around your chimney — like discoloration of the masonry or adjacent building materials, or flaky and crystallized white efflorescence, which isn’t mold, but does point to a moisture intrusion problem. More often, though, if mold is growing inside your chimney where it isn’t in plain sight, the first indication will be a musty odor. We all know the smell of mold — it’s what most of us think of as that dank and unpleasant old-basement smell. If you notice an odor, Chief Chimney Services can inspect the chimney to assess whether there’s a moisture issue and mold growth.

How Does Mold End Up In My Chimney?

Mold spores are everywhere, and if they get a dark space to thrive and moisture to feed on, they’ll grow. So mold growth in your chimney is a sure indication that there’s a moisture issue — and dealing with that moisture issue is the key to dealing with your mold.

What Can I Do To Get Rid Of Mold In My Chimney?

The most effective way to get rid of chimney mold: Call Chief Chimney Services. Since breathing mold spores can be dangerous, it’s generally not advised to clean mold yourself on a space that’s any larger than 10 square feet (about a 3 by 3 square). If there’s mold growth inside your chimney, it’ll require special tools to properly get to it, as well. But beyond that, cleaning mold without addressing the moisture intrusion or leak issues is a temporary fix — the mold will grow back again. We can inspect and clean your chimney, find any leaks or moisture intrusion issues (which can be anything from degraded masonry to a cracked chimney crown  or damaged flashing) and provide solutions and repairs.

If you have any questions or concerns about chimney mold, we’re always here to help. Just give Chief Chimney Services a call!