As the holidays are approaching, many people are making plans to spend time with family and friends around a warm fireplace. While this can be a cozy experience, it’s important to keep your chimney properly maintained.
A leaking chimney is not only an inconvenience for homeowners, but can also pose a significant fire hazard. A leaky chimney can create an unpleasant mess but also drastically increases the chance that you will have a leaky roof or water damage in areas surrounding your fireplace.
It is very important to have routine chimney inspections done on your home’s chimney at least once per year by a professional who has been trained and certified to perform these chimney cleaning services.
You can count on your chimney to ventilate the fireplace but it also protects the home from the elements. If the chimney looks like it is leaking when it rains this is a good indication there is a leak. You may notice water spots on the ceiling. Even a little crack can cause a lot of damage.
There are some common leaking issues you need to be aware of and how to fix them properly. This will help ensure that you do not have to worry about damage to your home.
This will also allow you to use your fireplace in the cold weather and not have an issue with it working properly.
Video Guide: Dealing With Chimney Leaks
Types Of Chimney Leaks
Rain is Leaking Through the Roof
This is a common problem and if there is rain getting in this can be a big issue. The most common reason rain is getting in the chimney is due to an issue with the chimney cap. The cap may be cracked. It may have come off.
You will need to check the cap to first make sure it is then and then see if there are any issues with this.
The chimney cap is designed to cover the opening of the chimney. This will keep the elements from entering the home and getting into the fireplace. If water is getting in this can lead to rust and the chimney will deteriorate. This will need to be repaired. To keep rain from entering the fireplace the cap will need to be repaired or replaced. The cap is an important part of the structure.
Cracks in the Crown of the Chimney
There may be a leak in the chimney due to an issue with the chimney crown. The crown is a piece of cement that is at the top of the chimney. This will help prevent moisture and water from getting into the lining of the flue. This is part of the masonry work. If there is damage to the crown the chimney will not work properly.
This will allow moisture to get in and will lead to more damage. This will make it hard to light the chimney. It can also be a reason while water is getting into the home and causing more damage.
If the cracks are not fixed they will allow moisture into the home. This will damage the entire chimney. The crown and the entire structure should have an annual inspection by a professional and any repairs need to be addressed immediately. The sooner any issues with the crown, the sooner it can be repaired and at less of an expense to the homeowner.
The longer these issues are allowed to go the more expensive it will be to repair. The more work it will also be to fix the problem. Not only will the chimney need to be fixed but water damage to the home will need to be taken care of as well.
Damaged Flashing and Leaks
If the chimney is leaking there may be a problem with the flashing. The flashing is where the chimney and the roof meet. If the chimney is not joined with the roof, water can leak in and this will damage the structure. There is a material that is known as flashing and it is used to create a seal between the chimney and the roof. This will keep water from getting into the home.
The flashing is usually made from aluminum but over time there can be damage. This is one of the most common causes of leaks. It is wise to have the flashing inspected often. There may not be enough flashing installed which can also lead to leaks. If there is an issue this needs to be repaired right away to prevent damage. It is best to make sure the flashing is high quality.
Bricks are Absorbing Water
The masonry work of the chimney can be leading to issues. Bricks are mortar are made with water and then allowed to harden. The bricks can take in water over time. As they absorb this water the temperature drops. The water turns to ice and expands. This will cause cracks to form in the bricks. When the ice melts the cracks are still there.
The bricks will not be able to stop the water and leaks can happen. Since the bricks are part of the main structure this is a very important area to check. They should be secure and they should not allow water to get into the home.
If the chimney gets a lot of shade after it rains the bricks will not be able to dry. They will get soggy over time. If the water is not able to escape the bricks it will make its way into the home. This will lead to an expensive repair. If the leaks are coming from the bricks they will need to be replaced or the entire chimney may need to be rebuilt.
The bricks need to be carefully inspected for any signs that they are cracking. If a crack is found it needs to be repaired right away. A professional chimney service should be called before things get worse. This problem needs to be handled immediately.
Leaks from the Attic
There could be leaks from the chimney entering the attic. This will most likely be condensation. When the fireplace produces the fumes they are filled with moisture. This will begin to condense and form in the flue. The moisture will eventually be taken in by the structure and will build up in the attic.
This is often the case during the summer months. While the weather is warm outside, inside of the chimney the cold air is still there. This creates a contract leading to condensation.
Most people do not go into their attic often. The moisture can be there for a while before they know there is damage. This condensation can be the cause of water leaking into the home. Once this issue is identified it can be rectified.