It is often said that water is a chimney’s No. 1 enemy. This is true for so many reasons, among them that water can damage and weaken your chimney’s brick and mortar, compromise your chimney’s structural integrity, create a fire risk, cause an unpleasant smell, and—as is the topic of this blog post—contribute to the proliferation of mold. Speaking of musty smells, they tend to present themselves more during the warmer months and on rainy days, when humidity is high.

For the record, there should never, under any circumstances, be mold inside your chimney. This is a surefire sign that something is not right within your chimney and that a professional needs to come out A.S.A.P. to inspect, clean, and waterproof your chimney so that your air quality doesn’t suffer a day longer.  Winston’s Chimney Service proudly cares for chimneys all around the Fairfax, Virginia, area. We know exactly what to do to keep water out of your chimney for good and to repair any existing water damage your chimney may have. Following a video and visual inspection by one of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps you will be presented with your options for mold cleanup and the prevention of future mold accumulation.

What Is Mold?

Before we talk further about mold inside your chimney and why it’s bad for your health and bad for your home, we’ll tell you a little bit about how mold is made. Molds are types of fungi that reproduce by forming tiny, invisible spores. Mold spores are unfortunately very tenacious and can survive in even dry and harsh environments. Different types of molds will tend to proliferate on different types of surfaces, and molds come in an array of colors, sometimes appearing as spots and sometimes presenting a musty odor.

Any moist area in the home can become a breeding ground for molds. That’s why mold is most commonly found in shower stalls and basements. Mold is also often harbored within drywall and on ceiling tiles, on carpet and furniture, roofing and plumbing, and in chimneys. Few homeowners are able to actually see that their chimney has grown moldy; this information is usually discovered during a routine chimney inspection.

Physical Reactions to Mold

Molds can aggravate symptoms for people with respiratory problems, allergies and asthma.

Molds can aggravate symptoms for people with respiratory problems, allergies and asthma.

When we say “physical reactions” to mold, we’re not just talking about your recoiling and saying “ew” when faced with the furry green and white stuff, but rather the very real symptoms that can occur as a result of exposure to mold. A reported 25 million Americans have allergic reactions to molds, though the majority will not realize what they’re allergic to. Beyond allergic reactions like sneezing and sniffing, molds can also cause more serious side effects, including

  • Breathing problems including asthma
  • Memory loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness, coordination, and balance difficulties
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Acid reflux
  • Excessive bruising
  • Brain damage
  • Weakened immune systems

According to the EPA, people with chronic lung illnesses may end up developing mold infections in their lungs. Reactions to mold also vary depending on the amount of mold a person is exposed to and the duration of exposure.

Solutions to Chimney Mold

Mold can grow inside a chimney for a number of reasons, including cracked or loose chimney bricks and leaky chimney flashing, both of which allow rainwater to seep inside your home. The truth is that once water gets into your chimney, mold may actually be the least of your worries, as your home becomes vulnerable to leaks that can manifest themselves on your ceiling, walls, and flooring. These types of water damage repairs can be very costly, thus we recommend calling about chimney leaks as soon as you suspect them. Mold can be especially dangerous inside a chimney, since air flows through the chimney—moving mold spores into the air inside your home.

There are a number of great ways to keep water—and its bedfellow, mold—out of your chimney. If your chimney already has a mold problem, however, we will need to remove the mold prior to providing one or more of the following waterproofing solutions 

Are you concerned that your chimney is harboring mold? Call Winston’s Chimney Service today. We’ll be able to inspect your chimney, clean it if needed, and prevent future mold growth so that you, your family, and your home are safe from mold.