5 Steps to Preventing Chimney Leaks during Spring Rainy Season
Water may be one of nature’s building blocks, but this seemingly innocuous combination of two parts hydrogen mixed with one part oxygen, can wreak havoc on unprotected chimneys. This can lead to accelerated structural deterioration and eventually develop into a safety hazard. Even a small leak will grow into a bigger problem. So preventing chimney leaks during the spring rainy season should be a top priority of every homeowner.
1. Inspect masonry for damage
Since water leaks can occur practically anywhere around the chimney and they are often difficult to spot, it is important to inspect the masonry for damage. Although stone chimneys are less prone to water damage, the mortar holding them in place can soften when exposed to water. Repair any cracked, missing or spalling bricks and deteriorating mortar joints as soon as possible. Also, be sure to inspect the chimney crown and the flashing (a thin metal strip between the roof and chimney).
2. Install a Chimney Cap
Ever notice water in the firebox or white smoke when you light the fireplace? This is a common problem that is likely the result of a wet firebox from an uncapped or damaged chimney cap. A chimney or rain cap affixes to the crown. It acts like an umbrella to help prevent chimney leaks and debris from clogging the flue.
3. Replace your damper
The damper is a metal or aluminum cover inside the flue that seals the outside elements and protects the fireplace when it’s not in use. Water, debris and normal wear and tear can cause rusting, warping and other damages that can significantly reduce its usefulness. To prevent leaks, this critical chimney component should be inspected periodically and repaired or replaced when necessary.
4. Apply a waterproof coating
Masonry like bricks and mortar are porous materials that soak up water like a sponge. And after a few rainy seasons, the bricks and mortar begin to soften causing loosened masonry to deteriorate and even fall from the chimney. An effective way to prevent chimney leaks is to apply a waterproof coating specially formulated for masonry. For best results, be sure to repair any damaged masonry or mortar joints before its application. However, waterproofing will need to be re-applied every 5 to 10 years to maintain its effectiveness.
5. Annual Maintenance
The best way to prevent chimney leaks is with an annual maintenance and inspection by a certified chimney sweep. Sometimes a homeowner will notice water in the chimney, but have trouble finding the source. Water can penetrate through tiny cracks and crevices that are difficult to detect with the naked eye. Our chimney specialists are trained experts who carry sophisticated equipment that allows them to spot and prevent chimney leaks wherever they may be occurring. Contact us to schedule your chimney inspection today (770) 691-6707!