Has Your Chimney Been Struck by Lightning?
There are approximately 25 million lightning strikes in the United States each year. Most of them are exciting to watch through a window. Others cause serious destruction. With many lightning strikes, chimneys are the focal point of the destruction. National Chimney Cleaners of Fairfield County, CT, and Morris County, NJ, would like to give you some useful information about lightning strikes and what they can do to a chimney.
How lightning strikes
Lightning often strikes the tallest surface in its area of deployment, but not always. When it strikes the tallest object in a neighborhood, chimneys are often the victims. Depending on the magnitude of the strike, a chimney can be completely destroyed or seriously damaged.
Lightning vs. chimney
In this matchup, the lightning almost always wins. Here’s what a lightning strike can do to your chimney.
• Demolish bricks and cause the chimney to lean or collapse
• Start a fire by igniting creosote inside the chimney flue
• Break apart a clay chimney liner and warp a metal one
• Crack the concrete chimney crown
• Unseat, warp or split chimney flashing
Three things to do right after a lightning strike
If you believe your chimney was hit by lighting, do these three things in this order:
1. Remove people and pets from the yard below the chimney.
2. Determine if the chimney is on fire.
Signs of a chimney fire include:
- Clicking or tapping noises
- A rumbling sound
- Smoke exiting either end of the chimney
If the chimney is on fire, call 911 and evacuate people and pets from the home.
3. Schedule a chimney inspection
If you know or believe your chimney was hit by lightning, do not use the fireplace again until you’ve had the chimney inspected.
Your inspector will evaluate all readily accessible areas of the chimney. He or she may recommend a more invasive inspection that includes video imaging of the interior flue and the removal of sections of the chimney or adjacent materials of the home.
A chimney inspection is critical after a chimney has suffered damage from a lightning strike. A lightning-damaged chimney can lead to:
- Deadly carbon monoxide moving into your living spaces
- A chimney fire
- Brick damage that will worsen over time
- Crumbling mortar joints that will weaken the chimney structure
- Damage to the protective chimney liner
- Water intrusion through broken masonry, a cracked chimney crown, a damaged chimney cap, or warped chimney flashing
A qualified chimney inspector will spot the problems that can lead to these issues and recommend the best way to fix them.
Chimney repair following a lightning storm
After damage has been assessed, arrange for needed repairs as soon as possible – and definitely before you use your fireplace again. Experienced chimney crews have the knowledge, tools and equipment to restore safety and efficient performance to your chimney. Services that a good chimney company can provide include:
- Brick replacement
- Tuckpointing to replace crumbling mortar
- Installation of chimney caps, chimney chase tops and chimney flashing
- Chimney relining and liner repair
- Chimney crown sealing and rebuilding
- Partial and complete chimney rebuilding
- Repair of chimney leaks and chimney waterproofing
Has lightning struck your chimney?
If your chimney has been hit by lightning, National Chimney Cleaners is standing by to help with licensed chimney inspections and all types of chimney repairs and rebuilding.
For fast response and jobs done right throughout Fairfield County and Morris County, call us at (800) 631-6177. You can also reach us through our contact form.