What causes chimneys to leak?


Spring’s wet weather can bring some unexpected — and unpleasant — surprises: Chimney leaks. There are some things you should be looking at to determine what is causing your chimney to leak. If you notice water spots forming on your ceiling, peeling wallpaper, warping wallboard or water dripping into your home from above, water in your firebox, or fireplace rust, don’t rush to blame your roof! Often, when water is coming in from above, it’s your chimney that’s to blame.

Missing or Damaged Chimney Cap

A chimney cap is essential for keeping water out of your chimney. A chimney cap covers your chimney’s exterior opening, to prevent water from flowing down the chimney flue. Water in the chimney can cause damage to chimney flue tiles and rust on metal chimney and fireplace components. 

Often, preventing or stopping chimney leaks comes with a simple solution. Top your chimney with a sturdy chimney cap in good repair. Builder-grade chimney caps can fail within a few years, and even the sturdiest of chimney caps can get blown off course during wicked weather. If you notice water coming in through your chimney, check your chimney cap first!

Cracked Chimney Crown or Chase Cover

Constructed from concrete, chimney crowns cover the vertical layers of your masonry chimney, from the exterior edges of the chimney masonry to the inner edge of your flue. In a prefabricated chimney, this job is performed by the chase cover. Crowns and chase covers divert water away from the chimney opening. Both are subject to breaking down over time, which can allow water to flow down into your fireplace and chimney, which causes rust or water damage. Either, if left untreated, can create problems that will cost you time and money to fix.

Falling Masonry

Damaged chimney masonry causes water to seep in through your chimney. Winter moisture coupled with freezing temperatures can cause your chimney’s masonry to crack and crumble during cold winter weather. If your masonry bricks have cracked, or if the mortar has crumbled away, that can allow water to seep into your chimney and cause additional water damage.

Loose Flashing

Often, when homeowners think their chimney is leaking, water is actually finding its way in through the chimney flashing. Flashing surrounds the base of your chimney where it meets the roofline to prevent water coming in at the base of the chimney. If the flashing has been improperly installed, it can allow water to gain access to your chimney and your home’s structure. Even properly installed flashing can pull away from the chimney base or develop cracks or holes over time. If you’ve ruled out other chimney issues, call a professional to inspect the flashing around your chimney. They will make sure it is fitted snugly between the roof and the chimney and that it is free from any damage.

We Can Fix It

A chimney leak should never be ignored! If left unchecked, even minor chimney leaks can cause major damage. If you see water in your fireplace, stains on the exterior of your chimney or signs of water damage on your walls or ceiling, it’s time to call in chimney experts! Call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today! Our chimney technicians can locate the cause of your chimney leak and diagnose the best way to fix your chimney leak.

By on May 22nd, 2017| Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment