Total Chimney Care's Blog

April showers bring May flowers… and chimney leaks?

Spring always means one thing: Rain. Rainy spring weather ushers in spring blooms and green grass, but it can usher in something far less desirable: a chimney leak. Water from spring rains can seriously damage your chimney, and that damage can spread to the portion of your home that surrounds your chimney. When you consider how damaging water can be to a chimney, it’s no wonder that the Chimney Safety Institute of America has declared water chimneys’ top enemy.

What can you do to help protect your home and your chimney from water damage? Be on the lookout for signs of chimney leaks, especially after rainy spring weather comes to an end. Here are some common signs of chimney leaks and chimney water damage:

• Discoloration on the chimney’s exterior. If you see streaks of color on the sides of your chimney, it is a sign that water is entering and damaging your chimney. Water damage can cause a variety of colors to appear on your chimney’s exterior, including white, green, blue, and black. If you have a metal chimney chase cover on top of your chimney, you also might see streaks of rust down the sides of your chimney.

  • Water in the bottom of the firebox. Not surprisingly, water pooling at the bottom of your firebox is a sign that water is coming down into your chimney and entering your fireplace. In addition to water, you might find debris from your chimney, such as pieces of masonry chimney tiles, in the bottom of your firebox if your chimney is leaking.
  • Rust. Rust is another sign that water is leaking into your chimney. You might see rust forming on your fireplace doors, your fireplace grate or your chimney damper if water is leaking into your chimney.
  • Discoloration on your walls or ceiling. When the flashing that seals the juncture between your chimney base and your roof fails, you can end up with a major chimney leak. Failing flashing usually leads to water damage on the walls and ceiling around your chimney, which looks like dark water spots, drooping or warping walls or ceiling boards, or peeling paint or wallpaper.
  • Crumbling masonry. Masonry chimney materials absorb water, which can cause damage and chimney leaks. When water is entering and damaging your chimney’s masonry, you might notice that your chimney masonry begins to crack and crumble. Look for cracks in the masonry and soft mortar as a sign that the chimney is leaking.

After spring’s rains, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of chimney leaks. Leaking chimneys cause water damage, and when leaks go undetected or unaddressed, that water damage can become severe and incredibly expensive to repair. For that reason, it’s crucial that you address chimney leaks right away. If you notice any of the above signs of chimney leaks, call Total Chimney Care to have your chimney inspected today! We can repair chimney leaks to save your home from further water damage.

By Steve Sobczak on May 16th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Leave a Comment

We fix leaky chimneys!

Leaky chimneys can manifest in many ways inside your home. Whether it’s water pooling in your firebox, stains on your ceilings or walls, discoloration on the exterior of your chimney, or chimney masonry that’s rapidly deteriorating due to excess moisture. The professionals from Total Chimney Care can help. We fix leaky chimneys!

Flashing repair

Most of the time, when there are chimneys leak, the flashing is to blame! Chimney flashing surrounds the base of your chimney, forming a tight seal where the chimney meets your roof to prevent water from leaking in. Over time, your chimney flashing inevitably breaks. It can crack or corrode, forming holes which let water into your chimney. Often, when water stains appear on the ceiling or walls around your chimney, a leak around the chimney flashing is the issue.

Chimney crown repair

Chimney crowns seal off the layers of your chimney at the top. Constructed from concrete, they are extremely susceptible to form cracks due to freeze/thaw process. Damaged chimney crown allows water to leak through the layers of your chimney, causing damage to the internal chimney structure or to your home’s structure. The only way to fix this problem is to repair or reconstruct your chimney crown.

Tuckpointing

Like your chimney crowns, the mortar joints on your masonry chimney are also incredibly susceptible to break due to water absorption and the freeze/thaw cycle. When your mortar joints form cracks and begin to crumble, water then gain access to your chimney. When water makes its way through the cracks, this can weaken the chimney structure or cause water damage to the chimney’s interior. We recommend getting your chimney repaired through tuckpointing. This process removes the damaged mortar joints and reinforces your chimney with newly applied mortar.

Waterproofing

To protect your chimney from leaks in the first place, we can apply a waterproofing solution to your chimney! Chimney masonry absorbs water very easily, and when temperatures drop below freezing, the water within the masonry expands and cause cracks that lead to chimney leaks. When you waterproof your chimney with ChimneySaver solutions, your chimney’s masonry is protected from water absorption. ChimneySaver’s waterproofing solution prevents nearly 100 percent of water from being absorbed into your chimney’s masonry. They also work to allow your chimney to breath and exhaust the smoke and moisture generated by your fireplace at the same time.

Let us help!

If your chimney is plagued with leaks, call Total Chimney Care at 203-874-6772 to schedule an appointment today! Our experts can’t wait to fix your chimney leaks. We offer plenty of solutions to ensure the safety and efficiency of your fireplace by making sure your chimney crown, flashing and mortar joints are in good condition.

By Steve Sobczak on May 30th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

What Causes Chimneys to Leak?

Rusting dampers and fireplace doors, discolored walls and ceilings, cracked and crumbling chimney bricks and water pooling at the bottom of Causes of Chimneys Leaks - New Haven - Fairfield CT - Total Chimney Careyour firebox all can signal that your chimney has sprung a leak. When a chimney leak occurs, it can mean costly damage to your home, your chimney and your fireplace. The first step in preventing chimney leaks is understanding where they come from. So what exactly causes chimney leaks?

Failing flashing

Flashing seals the base of your chimney where it meets your roofline. Your flashing should be L-shaped metal trimming that is flush to the base of your chimney. Leaking around the chimney flashing can occur when flashing is improperly installed, cracked or corroded, or when it pulls away from the chimney base. Regularly checking your chimney’s flashing and making sure it is in good repair can save you from a leak that rots your ceiling joists or causes discoloration in your walls and ceilings. If your chimney endures a significant amount of water runoff on your roof, you may want to consider installing a cricket, a metal tent that can divert water away from your chimney’s base.

Misplaced chimney cap

A chimney cap is one of the most crucial components in protecting your chimney from water damage. A proper chimney cap is a tented metal cap affixed to the flue opening with metal caging. The chimney cap prevents water from running down the walls of your chimney, damaging flue tiles and rusting dampers, fireboxes and fireplace doors. If you notice moisture making its way into your fireplace, you should first check to make sure you have a securely installed chimney cap.

Damaged masonry

Most masonry damage is due to water penetration. As porous bricks, chimney crowns and mortar joints absorb water, that water can freeze and expand, causing cracking and crumbling. That minor water damage can lead to major leaks and water penetration that can compromise your chimney’s structure. Address any noticeable water damage before minor water damage before it leads to extensive and costly chimney leaks.

Water penetration

All masonry materials are porous and will absorb water over time. The best way to prevent chimney leaks and water damage in a masonry chimney is with waterproofing. Waterproofing applications block your chimney’s masonry from absorbing moisture. At the same time, the waterproofing material is 100 percent breathable, so any moisture already in the masonry can evaporate, and gases created by your winter fires can still be exhausted.

Especially during the spring, as rainstorms proliferate, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of water damage and leaks around your chimney. If you notice signs of water damage, a misplaced chimney cap, degrading flashing or cracked masonry, contact the chimney experts at Total Chimney Care. We can repair any existing chimney leaks, damaged masonry and help you prevent future water damage.

By Steve Sobczak on June 12th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Freeze Thaw Damage to Chimneys

At Total Chimney Care in the South Central and South Western Connecticut areasFreeze Thaw Chimney Damage - Fairfield New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care we see a lot of cold weather. All the freezing and thawing that winter brings takes a toll on the pipes in your home as well as the masonry work in your chimney. Now that spring is finally upon us it is time to inspect the damage winter has done and make masonry repairs to chimneys and fireplaces. Taking the time to schedule a professional chimney inspection will take care of minor repairs before they become costly and dangerous.

Freezing Damage To Chimneys

Freezing is of particular concern to many homeowners because the masonry work on chimneys can endure a lot of damage during the cold winter months. Freezing can cause the mortar between the bricks of your chimney to crack, crumble and deteriorate. This type of damage is easily repaired if caught early. However, if left undetected can cause the bricks to crumble and shift and this can result in expensive masonry repair. Because chimneys are unseen on a daily basis and rarely inspected closely, this type of damage can go unaddressed for extended periods of time.

Thaw Damage To Chimneys

Once the water on your chimney has thawed, moisture damage becomes a concern. When moisture enters your chimney it can seep into the porous mortar and cause chimney bricks to crack, break and shift. Become mortar is porous, the constant freezing and thawing that is typical during winter months can cause the mortar to expand and contract, which can cause your bricks to shift and crack under the pressure.

Beyond this, moisture damage can affect all the components of your chimney like rust on the damper or parts of the firebox. Moisture can also settle into your chimney and cause damage as well as a build-up of creosote. Lastly, moisture can stain the exterior of your chimney, and if left unaddressed can cause water damage to your walls and ceilings.

Addressing Chimney Repairs

Chimney damage may sound scary, but if you schedule a regular chimney inspection, especially after the winter season, you can avoid many expensive repairs. A certified chimney sweep can come to your home and perform many basic repairs. For example, tuckpointing is a common and simple chimney repair in which a professional chimney technician replaces the mortar between each brick to stabilize the chimney and waterproof the structure.

Additional Ways To Prevent Water Damage

  • Install a chimney cap
  • Repair your chimney crown
  • Replace roof flashing
  • Ask about chimney re-lining
  • Waterproofing

Many homeowners will tell you that the best way to avoid costly chimney repair is to prevent it in the first place. A thorough chimney inspection from the professionals at Total Chimney Care will help recognize problems before they become hazardous and expensive repairs. Spring is the perfect time to tackle basic chimney repairs because damage from the winter will be evident and the weather is milder and easier to work around. Contact Total Chimney Care today to schedule your chimney inspection and keep your chimney and fireplace in top working order.

By Steve Sobczak on April 29th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment