If you have recently had a tornado touch down in your vicinity, you will want to inspect the interior and exterior of your home thoroughly for any damage. One of the first areas that you will examine is your roof. As long as you don't see any visual damage, you may think that you are okay. This is especially true if a tornado didn't physically hit your home. However, to be on the safe side, especially if you have a chimney, you may want to consult with an expert to make sure that you don't have any problems that you don't realize. After all, high winds, rain and hail can cause issues that you don't see immediately, including:
Cracked Outside Masonry
In a severe storm, especially one where a tornado forms and touches down, there are extremely high winds that can create cracks in your chimney. When this happens, it can prevent proper ventilation of the smoke when you have a fire going. In some instances, this may allow creosote to build up in the cracks, which could potentially lead to a fire hazard that could spread to the roof.
Now, even if you have no intentions on using your chimney in the near future because it is summertime, it is important that you have the cracks in the masonry fixed sooner rather than later. This is because the cracks can lead to water infiltration. Not only can the water mix with the creosote and develop an acidic mixture, which can potentially rust the damper and result in brick and mortar deterioration, but the water leaks may also cause damage to the interior of your home.
Damaged Crown and Cap
Over time, it isn't uncommon for the chimney crown and cap to suffer regular wear and tear from wind and rain. However, when a tornado comes through, it may suffer immediate damage from the high winds, hail and other storm-related perils. While you may think that this enhanced damage won't matter if it isn't winter, you will still experience the effects of the damage even during the spring and summer. Like the cracks in the masonry, the damaged crown and cap will allow water to seep into the fireplace. In addition to water, small animals (like squirrels and birds) and debris (like tree limbs and leaves) may also fall down into the chimney and enter the home. Therefore, immediate attention is required in order to avoid problems inside the home.
Similar to the above issues, breached flashing can allow water leaks. Chimney flashing is installed to connect your roof and chimney to one another and to prevent water from entering between the two. Unfortunately, if the flashing is damaged in any way, water can seep through.
If there has been a severe storm or a tornado in your area recently, it may be a good idea to check with a chimney repair company like Clean Sweep to have your chimney inspected to ensure that any repairs are dealt with immediately.