Help! Water From My Chimney Is Leaking into My Home
Among all the symptoms chimneys can present that tell you something’s wrong, leaking water is definitely one of the most critical and one that needs to be addressed immediately. Water is the enemy of chimneys and their components, and if some area of the structure has been compromised, damage caused by the water will surely happen and will surely get worse.
Reasons for a leaking chimney
There are four primary reasons you may notice water in the firebox, water stains on the walls or chimney bricks, offensive odors coming from the chimney or other indicators that water has infiltrated the system
1. Missing or damaged chimney cap
Chimney caps are factory-made devices that fit atop the chimney, shielding it from water (and various debris). If your chimney is leaking and you don’t have a chimney cap, installing one might solve your problem. A chimney cap that is significantly damaged also can let water in. Sometimes the damage can be repaired; in other cases, you’ll need to replace the cap.
2. Damaged chimney crown
The chimney crown is the concrete (or mortar) layer that covers the bricks at the top of the chimney. Crowns should be made of concrete, which is considerably more durable than mortar, but sometimes the latter is used to save time and money. Regardless of the materials used in the crown’s construction, time and the elements can cause the crown to crack and chip, which can allow water to get into the chase and run down the chimney.
If the crown is cracked but not missing any sections, it’s possible to use a professional-grade sealant to keep water out of the cracks, where it will cause more damage. Remember, however, that sealant only blocks water – it doesn’t resolve any current damage. If chunks of the crown are missing, you’ll likely need to rebuild.
3. Compromised chimney flashing
Flashing is the material that surrounds the chimney to block the gap between the chimney and the roof. Over time, flashing can deteriorate and warp, opening the seal and giving water an easy way to run down the outside of the chimney and seep into adjacent building materials of the house.
Depending on the severity of the problem, the result can be destroyed drywall, rotting wood or an infestation of mold. In their early stages, these problems can’t be seen. For this reason, a professional inspection is warranted any time it’s clear that the flashing has become unstable. Sometimes a sealant can be used around the flashing to prevent water infiltration, but often the best move is to replace the flashing.
Brick and mortar leaks
Bricks that are particularly porous and mortar containing too much sand are prone to absorbing water. This doesn’t happen right away, but over a period of years, susceptible bricks and mortar can suffer serious damage from rain and intense weather.
As with the chimney crown, small cracks often can be sealed. Where more extensive damage exists, certain areas of the chimney may need to be rebuilt. For any rebuilding work, always use a professional chimney services technician.
Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, GA, takes leaking chimneys very seriously. We provide complete inspection, repair, cleaning and maintenance services for customers throughout our region. If you have a leaking chimney, call us today at (770) 255-1300.