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Scary Stuf In Attics: Chimney Mushrooms

February 7, 2015 | Posted by Sensible Energy Solutions

Mushrooms_small.jpgWe don't typically find mushrooms growing in an attic, even in wet Portland. The person who found these thought they were scary, for sure, though the rest of us were intrigued. (Granted, it didn’t help that the auditor who found them also found active wasp nests, mold on the roof deck, and damaged knob-and-tube wiring in the same attic.)

Are these mushrooms or some other type of fungi? We confess that we don’t know. We do know that fungi require moisture to grow, so the mortar was likely getting soaked. There was no cap on the chimney, and moss was growing in the mortar joints near the chimney top. Perhaps moss was growing in the mortar on the inner walls of the chimney, too, which would channel water into the mortar. Ah, Portland!

The ending here was happy enough unless you empathize with the mushrooms: The homeowners were planning to remove the chimney anyway, and by now it’s long gone. Still, it’s a good reminder that protecting your chimney from water damage is a fine idea. If your chimney doesn’t have a cap, maybe now is the time to install one! 

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