Top 6 Reasons Chimneys Leak
Just because winter is past doesn’t mean it’s a good time to forget about chimney maintenance. Throughout the year, in all types of weather, your chimney can be affected by various factors that result in damage. The most common type of repair that’s needed is for chimney leaks. The National Fire Protection Association recommends a yearly chimney inspection as a way of helping to prevent dangerous house fires. The fact is, however, that annual chimney inspections in Atlanta can also ultimately save you money by identifying chimney leaks before the needed repairs become excessively costly. The six most common causes of chimney leaks follow.
One – No Chimney Cap
A chimney with no cap or topper is vulnerable to many elements in nature. Rain, snow, and sleet falls directly into your home by way of the chimney. Moisture causes all kinds of damage, from a rusted damper to deterioration in the chimney flue. Along with rain, leaves can blow in and cause a chimney obstruction or a chimney fire, both of which are extremely dangerous. If you light a fire in the fireplace and the chimney is blocked, toxic fumes can enter the home and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. If debris causes a chimney fire, the intense temperature in the chimney can damage the masonry and the flue lining, both of which can result in a quick-spreading house fire. Buying a chimney cap and having it installed is perhaps the best type of preventative maintenance for chimneys.
Two – Deterioration of Mortar and Masonry
The masonry on a chimney can last about 100 years at least, if protected from moisture. The mortar between the masonry, on the other hand, only lasts about 25 years, in ideal conditions. The mortar should be replaced when it is no longer performing the job of keeping moisture out of the chimney system. Once moisture works its way into the masonry, freezing and thawing cycles in winter cause the masonry face to flake or pop off. The chimney’s structural integrity can be compromised to the point that it needs a complete rebuild, which is very costly.
One of the causes of mortar damage is that the roof design causes the chimney to be heavily impacted when it rains. A very good solution for this problem is to build a cricket, which is a roof-like structure that diverts water away from the chimney. Another solution is to waterproof your chimney masonry in order to guard against the entry of moisture.
Three – A Cracked Chimney Crown
At the top of the chimney there is a cement surface called the chimney crown, and it guards against moisture getting between the flue lining and the masonry. If the crown becomes cracked, water can get in and cause damage. If a crack goes untreated, it can expand and become more difficult if not impossible to repair. Small cracks, however, can be repaired before moisture causes significant damage. Possible chimney crown damage is another good reason for homeowners throughout the Atlanta area to contact our professional chimney technicians for an annual inspection and chimney cleaning.
Four – Leaky Flashing
Chimney flashing is installed where the chimney and the rooftop connect, and its purpose is to create a waterproof seal that keeps moisture out. Flashing, which is usually made with aluminum, is not as durable as the chimney itself. Flashing is actually one of the most common causes of a leaky chimney, whether it’s because the flashing has deteriorated over time or because adequate waterproofing was not achieved upon installation.
Five – Wood Siding
If you have a chimney chase with wood siding, the knots in the siding or cracks that develop can allow water to get behind it and cause damage. One of our professionals can help you identify whether your chimney is properly sealed and keeping moisture out of your chimney system.
Six – A Leaky Top Pan on a Chimney Chase
The metal top pan that is part of a chimney chase typically lacks durability. Water often pools up, causing the metal to rust. Another common cause of a leaky chimney is a damaged top pan, and it’s another good reason to contact our chimney professionals.
If you want to be sure your fireplace or wood stove is in good condition and ready for winter, schedule a chimney inspection. Our technicians can identify any chimney leaks that may be occurring and can provide the needed repairs. The sooner problems are addressed, the more you can save on potential repairs costs.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004