How To Find & Prevent Chimney Leaks
Chimney leaks can put a damper on the enjoyment of warm, crackling fires in your fireplace. Leaks are usually unnoticed at first. If you’ve found evidence of a chimney leak, it’s possible you can find the cause yourself, though it’s rarely easy detective work. The help of a chimney expert is often required, to determine where water has worked its way into a chimney system. For do-it-yourself troubleshooting, the following are some tips for identifying and preventing chimney leaks.
Signs Your Chimney is Leaking
Moisture is a chimney’s number one enemy. It’s smart for homeowners to be on the alert for signs of chimney moisture. With this type of diligence, you can keep down the cost of home and chimney repairs. The following are likely indications that you have a leaky chimney:
- You can see water staining, leaks, or moisture on the ceilings or walls around your chimney.
- A sound of water dripping is coming from inside the fireplace or flue.
- Condensation or water is inside the firebox.
- The exterior chimney masonry is cracked or crumbling.
- Staining is on the exterior chimney, which is a conclusive sign of moisture intrusion.
How to Identify Chimney Leaks
Few chimney problems are apparent when they first occur, and this is especially true for chimney leaks. Even if there are no apparent signs of a problem, hidden moisture damage could be wreaking havoc on your home. The following are among the most common types of chimney leaks that you may be able to identify on your own.
If you can safely inspect the chimney from your roof, take a close look at the metal flashing that surrounds the part of the stack closest to the rooftop. Flashing leaks are widespread problems because it’s difficult to achieve a watertight connection between the flashing and the chimney. Signs of possible leaks include large gaps between the metal and the chimney and rusted nails on the rooftop portion of the flashing. Contact a chimney professional for chimney flashing repair or replacement because residential roofers rarely have expertise with this vital task.
Chimney Mud Cap
The mud cap, also known as the chimney crown, is the mortared component at the top of the chimney. The purpose of the mud cap is to keep water from getting between the flue and the chimney exterior. It is not unusual for cracks to develop in the chimney crown. Deterioration allows rainwater to enter masonry, and it can go on to cause different types of damage. Sometimes the water within masonry travels down to different areas of the house, causing water damage.
If your mortar cap is damaged, have it repaired or rebuilt by a chimney expert. Another possibility with factory-built fireplaces is to have a full-sized metal chimney cap installed instead of a chimney cap positioned over the flue only.
The mortar connecting masonry lasts only about 25 years, and then cracks begin to develop. When the mortar is no longer doing its job, water can seep into the masonry, causing irreversible damage. Check to see whether the mortar on your exterior chimney is in good shape. If deterioration is evident, contact chimney professionals for repairs.
Contact Leaky Chimney Experts
Keep your chimney and fireplace in top condition by scheduling annual chimney inspections, which are recommended by all leading fire safety experts. The Chimney Solutions team of CSIA-certified technicians serves Atlanta and the surrounding area, providing comprehensive chimney services. We specialize in chimney rebuilds and fixing leaky chimneys. Contact our friendly chimney professionals today by calling (770) 255-1300.