causes of chimney leaks

What Causes Chimney Leaks

As we approach the colder months, many of us surely want to know that all is right with our fireplaces and chimney systems. Sometimes there are problems that must be addressed prior to enjoying a winter of cozy fires. One major issue is chimney leaks. Your chimney could potentially cause further problems, so it is important to deal with the smaller glitches early on.

So, what causes chimney leaks? Let’s take a look at the most common causes of a leaky chimney:

A Damaged or Missing Chimney Cap

When your chimney has no cover, rain and other undesirable things (leaves, bugs and even birds) can fall straight down inside it. The easy fix here is to just invest in a chimney cover. Without one, not only will water leak in, but the other gunk will too, which is worse because it can clog the chimney and cause smoke to back up into the house.

Damaged Flashing

The flashing is the material, usually aluminum, which surrounds the part of the chimney that pokes out of your rooftop, and bends over both the side of the chimney and roofing shingles. Flashing keeps water from coming down between the chimney and roof.

Masonry Water Leak Damage

Over time, the mortar and cement holding the chimney together may crack, and so do the bricks themselves. When this happens, water can fall down inside of the chimney and the house. Worse still, chimney walls in shaded areas will stay wet longer after rain and the bricks will also absorb this water and eventually expel it into the house.

Signs of A Leaky Chimney

Many homeowners falsely assume that a leaky chimney will present itself as visible water in the fireplace or flue. However, due to the size and complexity of most chimney systems, chimney leaks are often not recognized until they’ve already caused significant damage.

Below are some of the signs that may indicate your chimney is leaking:
• Water or condensation inside the firebox.
• Sound of dripping water in the chimney.
• Moisture, leaks, or water staining on walls or ceilings around chimney.
• Musty or dank odors, especially after it rains.
• Cracked or spalled interior or exterior masonry.

Preventing Chimney Leaks

The best way to prevent a chimney leak is to have regular preventative maintenance done on your fireplace and chimney. Annual Chimney Sweepings and Chimney Inspections can often identify any new chimney or masonry damage. Identifying the problem early will allow you to have it repaired before it leads to a chimney leak.

Another option to prevent leaks and water damage to your chimney is to have your masonry waterproofed. Waterproofing involves an application of a specially designed sealant. This sealant keeps water out while allowing the masonry to retain its semi porous nature. These products can even be applied to chimneys with existing water damage to keep it from getting worse.

If a rainstorm has left you with a leaky chimney, contact the chimney professionals at SootMaster. Our expert staff can identify and resolve the source of your leaky chimney and help prevent further damage to your home.

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