The cold days of winter have arrived in Harrisonburg, Virginia and the surrounding area. So, you’re sitting around in the family room, dreaming of the warmer summer weather. Why not enjoy it those dreams while cozying up in front of a crackling fire? However, before you get too cozy, there are some things you need to be aware of.

Proudly Serving Harrisonburg Virginia Image - Harrisonburg VA - Old DominionFreeze-Thaw Cycle

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is beautiful in the winter! Are you looking to head out to the mountains or just wander around Harrisonburg? If so, you do know that snow and sleet will eventually show up. And that can wreak havoc on your chimney. The materials of your chimney (brick, stone, or possibly block) are held together by mortar. Mortar is a porous material, and over time, precipitation (snow, rain, sleet) will permeate into the mortar. If you’re experiencing a mild winter, this may not be a problem. However, if Virginia is experiencing a harsh winter, this may cause some major structural damage to your fireplace.

When the temperature drops below freezing, that water will expand. According to, frozen water needs about ten percent more space than when it is in its liquid state. And this means that spaces that started out tiny will become bigger. When a thaw occurs, there is now an even larger crack in your mortar. This leaves a bigger space for precipitation to permeate. Simply stated, going from freezing to thawing to freezing again can cause your mortar to crumble. Consequently, this is what is holding the bricks together, and it could spell big trouble!

Creosote Build-up:

While you’re sitting in front of that cozy fire, the gases and other by-products that are being drawn up your chimney are turning into creosote. This is especially true when they hit the cooler temperature farther up the chimney. Creosote is a tar-like, sticky substance that is also highly flammable, and that’s where the trouble starts. If this build-up becomes too thick, it can catch sparks and cause a chimney fire. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that you have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a yearly basis. This should be done by a certified inspector like those at Old Dominion Chimneys.

Chimney Movement

Unfortunately, sometimes there is chimney movement that is caused by improper chimney construction. This can cause additional leaning, cracks, or defective footing. If that occurs, you may be looking at some repair work once summer hits!

Old Dominion Chimneys

So, you are sitting in front of your crackling fire in the middle of a Virginia winter. More than likely your thoughts are probably not centered on having your chimney inspected, cleaned, and repaired. And if you called Old Dominion Chimneys last summer, you’ll have no need to think about any of this! Old Dominion Chimneys knows exactly what the chimneys in Harrisonburg and the surrounding areas will be put through during winter months. In addition, the exact preventative measures to take. In doing so, making sure that you’ll be able to sit back, stay warm, and keep dreaming about the warm summer days that’ll soon be here.