Winter in Northeast New Jersey brings cold days, windy weather, and snow – and that can mean damage to both your home and chimney. This begs the question: If a structure gets damaged during this time of year, can you even schedule chimney repairs in the winter?

To spare likely cold and chapped hands a relief from sifting through search results of “winter chimney repairs,” the team at Garden State Chimney is here to provide some insight. For specific questions or appointments, contact us online or call 973-519-0802.

When Is the Best Time for Chimney Repairs & Why?

Technically, chimney and fireplace repairs can be done in winter, but the climate-induced working conditions – and their impact on materials – makes scheduling less than ideal. Most mortar mixes and other components needed for repairs are designed to cure in a warmer temperature, meaning that the process will take longer to set properly.

Since winter is not statistically the best time of year to think about getting those chimney repairs taken care of, when should you plan them? Most professional chimney service companies will tell you the same thing – sometime between spring and summer. Not only do these months provide better weather conditions for our team, but they also ensure that you get any existing issues out of the way before our busy season and your burning season. 

So, if you notice any inefficiencies or strange behavior at the end of the previous burning season, it is always recommended to look into scheduling your chimney repairs as soon as possible.

If I Notice Winter Chimney Damage, Is It Better To Wait?

All that said, what happens if you learn that your system has sustained damage? Should you hold off until winter is over, or look into getting someone out to assess the situation? Due to the nature of chimneys, the best course of action is to call on a team of professional technicians. These structures might appear simple enough from the outside, but the reality is that they are incredibly intricate and complex, with a potential to cause a variety of dangers if not adequately assessed by a professional. 

Don’t hold off on reaching out just because it’s the middle of winter. At Garden State Chimney, we’re here for you throughout the year, whether it’s as simple as answering some questions over the phone, or coming out for a repair. To learn more, give us a call at 973-519-0802, or fill out this appointment request form through our website.

What Are the Most Common Problems Chimneys Face in Cold Weather?

We know that chimney repair services are best performed in the warmer spring and summer months, but what tends to cause these issues in the first place? Here are a handful of the most common winter and cold weather-related adversities your chimney is up against:

original infographic on biggest winter-related chimney threats
  • Moisture and the freeze-thaw process. Water damage is a threat no matter what time of the year it is, but it is especially dangerous in the winter because of the freeze-thaw process. If your masonry has not been properly waterproofed (or it’s been some time since it was last done), any moisture that comes into contact with your brickwork will be absorbed into the material. When this water freezes, it expands, forcing the outer layers of the brick to crack and flake, leaving your entire system vulnerable for additional damage.
  • Draft issues and condensation. Chimneys operate on the principle that hot air will always rise to replace the cool air, but when there is an extreme difference in temperature between the outdoors and your home, your system might have an issue drawing the heated exhaust up and out. This can cause smoke to enter your living space instead of leaving through the flue. This temperature difference can also lead to issues with condensation on your flue liner. And when trapped moisture combines with creosote, it can cause a lot of damage to the liner.
  • Animal entry. We’re not the only ones trying to escape the cold! Especially if you don’t use your appliance regularly or super often, critters of all kinds tend to find chimney flues safe, warm, and the perfect spot to hunker down and endure the winter.
  • Ice dams and cracked chimney crowns. Considering your chimney has unobstructed exposure to the elements, it’s not all that surprising that something like an ice dam can form on top of your chimney. Like the term suggests, this buildup of snow and ice can effectively clog your flue and cause even more issues when it begins to melt. In the same vein, extremely cold weather can cause your chimney crown to crack, leaving your whole system susceptible. 

How Can I Help Prevent Winter-Related Chimney Damage?

No matter the time of year, most chimney damage is, in fact, preventable. Properly caring for your chimney means staying up to date with your annual services like chimney cleanings and inspections, as well as maintaining a general awareness of your system and its condition.

Aside from establishing a preventative annual care routine, here are a few other tips on how to care for your appliance throughout the winter:

  • Ensure you have a high quality, properly fit chimney cap installed
  • Pay attention to the draft and address issues if and when they arise
  • Only burn well-seasoned firewood to keep your flue nice and dry
  • Keep up with snow removal on and around your chimney (safely!)
  • Check that your attic and walls closest to your fireplace are properly insulated

And, most importantly, give us a call as soon as you notice something is off. Winter repairs may not be preferred, but sometimes they are required and you want to be sure to work with a company who knows their stuff – even in less desirable conditions.

Count On Us for Passaic County Chimney Sweep & Fireplace Repair Services

If you’re a homeowner in the greater Passaic County, NJ area looking for a high quality chimney sweep company, don’t hesitate to call Garden State. Reach out online or give us a call at 973-519-0802. You’ll be glad you did.