April Showers Bring … Chimney Leaks!
Except during times when it’s cold, the chimney is often ignored as a source of problems with the structure of a home. Most homeowners focus on the home’s foundation for any problems that may arise due to termites or other pests or water.
The chimney is a part of the house that should be in focus throughout the year. And one issue that could pop up is a leaky chimney. As is the case when diagnosing foundation problems due to water, it is essential that homeowners stay focused on the possible problem of a leaking chimney. A leak in the vicinity of the chimney should be addressed early before the issue escalates in the immediate future.
Causes of leaks that require chimney repairs include:
- An uncapped chimney
- Damage to the cover or crown
- Worn brick and mortar joints
- Faulty flashing
- Chimney condensation
An Open Top
Chimney leaks are common and are caused by a wide range of issues. Perhaps the biggest cause of leaks is not having a chimney cap installed. Precipitation whether it is snow or rain can get inside the chimney due to the open flue. Rain and snow aren’t the only elements that can make their way into your chimney through the open flue. Critters including birds can enter through the open space too. These critters can do damage in the chimney that could cause leaks. In addition to moisture, debris could fall into the chimney flue and build up inside causing smoke and carbon monoxide to enter your home when you use your fireplace.
To remedy a leaky chimney, we recommend that you keep the top of your chimney protected. Chimney Specialists, Inc. offers chimney cap installation, chimney crown repair, chimney chase top replacement, and more to keep moisture, debris, and critters out of the interior of your chimney. Our staff is well versed in chimney caps & covers and can answer any questions you have to assist you in selecting the right cover for your situation.
Damage To The Cover Or Crown
Once your chimney top is properly covered, then you should be aware that these items could be damaged and could allow water to enter the interior. The crown, by the way, is a concrete slab on the top of the chimney that protects its interior from the elements.
As time passes, the concrete crown can begin to crack & deteriorate because of the moisture and temperature changes. Repairing a damaged chimney crown simply involves filling in the cracks or rebuilding the chimney crown.
A common cover that may already be on your chimney is a prefabricated or factory-built cover called a chase cover. This cover is commonly made of galvanized steel that can rust and crack over time. We suggest that you replace your chase cover if your chimney has one as soon as possible. We can replace your steel cover with a stainless steel, copper, or aluminum chase cover that we have on hand in our shop. The new cover material assures it can never rust and will no longer present a problem.
Worn Brick And Mortar Joints
You probably don’t think about it, but brick and mortar joints of a chimney can experience severe stress due to excessive exposure to the weather. Moisture that gets caught in the joints can freeze and then thaw out causing the joint to crack.
A chimney inspection is an essential chore that can save you problems later. When you notice a leak and you have a cover on top of your chimney, then there’s a good chance your brick and mortar joints need to be repaired. We suggest that you perform the repair as soon as possible. If you allow it to fester, things could get worse and the structural integrity of your chimney could be in jeopardy. Our repair will include chimney tuckpointing and waterproofing that assures that your mortar and joints are free of moisture and as good as new.
One important part of your chimney that needs to be inspected every once and a while is the flashing area of the structure. Chimney flashing is a sheet of metal installed around the area where the chimney meets the roof. Flashing ensures that the connection between the chimney and roof is watertight.
Flashing is commonly made of aluminum and is sealed with tar or other waterproofing substance. The sealant can erode over time and the metal can warp and crack which can allow water to enter the chimney.
We suggest that you get a damaged flashing repaired quickly to prevent further water damage to your roof and home.
Although it’s rare, chimney condensation can occur that ultimately could lead to leaking. This usually occurs when a chimney is converted from wood burning to gas burning and isn’t fitted with the appropriate chimney liner.
Gas fireplaces emit fumes that contain moisture because of the lower temperatures and because a proper line wasn’t placed. As a result, moisture can build and then trickle through the chimney walls.
Simply check to see that the proper liner has been installed, and if you’re not sure, we can check things out to assure that there is a proper liner installed. If there is no liner, we will install one.
Our staff at Chimney Specialists is always available to visit your home and determine that your chimney is in proper shape to prevent leaking. If we find a problem, we will make any chimney repairs required. If you respond too late to water issues, we are also prepared for chimney rebuilding.
Visit our website for more information.