Total Chimney Care's Blog

We fix leaky chimneys!

What kind of shape is your chimney in after all of the stress of winter? Of course, you know that your chimney was bearing a lot of abuse from the inside, as you put your fireplace or heating stove to good use. But the real abuse a chimney faces during the winter months happens to its exterior. Come spring, the harsh conditions your chimney endured can become evident in the form of chimney leaks. If your chimney is showing signs of a leak this spring, call Total Chimney Care — We fix leaky chimneys!

How chimney leaks formwhite ceiling with brown water damage spots

So how does winter’s freezing weather affect your chimney’s exterior? Masonry materials, like the bricks, stone, and mortar used to build chimneys, are highly porous. Those materials absorb water. The water by itself isn’t a danger, but when temperatures drop, the water freezes and expands. That frozen, expanding water damages your chimney’s masonry. The damage caused by water trapped in your chimney’s masonry and freezing temperatures can lead to leaks.


Common causes of chimney leaks

Some common chimney damage that can lead to chimney leaks includes:

  • Cracks in the chimney crown. Your chimney crown is your chimney’s seal against water damage. At the top of your chimney, it protects the inner layers of your chimney by preventing water from pouring down in. When water trapped in the chimney crown freezes, it can cause the masonry to crack. Those cracks can allow water to leak into your chimney.
  • Deteriorated chimney masonry. Just like freezing water in the chimney crown can cause damage, freezing water trapped in your chimney’s masonry can cause damage. The chimney’s bricks and stones can crack or crumble, or pieces of the stones or bricks can pop off entirely. In addition to being unsightly, this damage can let water leak in through the sides of your chimney.
  • Crumbling mortar. The mortar joints that hold your chimney’s bricks or stones together can begin to soften and crumble away due to freeze-thaw damage. Water can seep in through these damaged mortar joints, causing chimney leaks.
  • Leaky flashing. It’s not just masonry materials that can be damaged during the winter months, opening your chimney up to the possibility of leaks. The flashing that seals the juncture between your chimney and your roofline can crack at the seams or develop holes. That can allow water to pour freely into your home around your chimney.

What to do about chimney leaks

If your chimney is clearly leaking, or if it shows signs of damage that can allow water to leak in, don’t ignore the leak or the damage! Water coming in through your chimney cause serious damage to your chimney or to your home’s structure. A chimney leak, or chimney damage, should be dealt with immediately to prevent serious water damage to your home. Call Total Chimney Care to fix your chimney leak or chimney damage today!

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

How to Get Rid of Chimney Odors

Your chimney might sit unused during the warm summer months, but warmer temperatures can bring an unpleasant surprise from your flue: Chimney odors. There are several causes of chimney odors, and nearly all of those causes are intensified when the weather — and the air in your chimney — heats up. If the air in your home is less than fresh due to odors from your chimney, you’re likely eager to get rid of that smell. Here are several ways you can get rid of chimney odors.

Have your chimney swept

Many homeowners wait until the fall, until they’re ready to use their chimney again, to schedule their annual chimney sweeping. When it comes to preventing chimney odors from filling your home, that can backfire. Debris in your chimney, whether it’s creosote, twigs and leaves or animal remains or droppings, can generate smells when exposed to summer’s heat and humidity. By scheduling your annual chimney sweeping during the spring instead of the fall, you can save yourself from the frustration and embarrassment of chimney odors.

Address chimney leaks, and consider waterproofing

Moisture can be a major culprit when it comes to chimney odors. Whether water is making its way in through a crack or seeping in through your chimney’s masonry, it can make your chimney, and your home, stink. The moisture on its own can cause a musty or moldy smell, or it can exacerbate the smells generated by creosote or debris within the chimney. Alleviate chimney odors by having any leaks, no matter how minor, repaired. You also can consider having a waterproofing solution applied to your chimney to keep water from finding its way in through the masonry and causing damage or odors.

Install a top-sealing damper

If odors from your chimney are permeating your home, it means that air must be traveling down your chimney and back into your home. This backward chimney draft can be stopped with a top-sealing chimney damper. While any damper should keep air from traveling down your chimney and into your home, traditional throat dampers eventually fail and allow air to bypass the seal and enter your home. A top-sealing damper provides a tight seal to the top of your chimney’s flue, effectively keeping air from traveling down your chimney.

Consider your chimney’s draft

If your chimney’s draft is a regular problem, it might be time to consult a professional to consider the problem. Air should only travel through your fireplace and up and out of your chimney. If your chimney is drafting improperly, in addition to odors, you might notice smoke finds its way into your home when the fireplace is in use. The solution might be as simple as being mindful of the vented appliances that are operating near your hearth or cracking opening a window in your home. It might take some alterations to your chimney liner. A certified professional can help you find the best way to correct your chimney draft to keep odors out.

If you are plagued with chimney odors in the summer heat, Total Chimney Care can help — whether it’s with a cleaning, chimney repairs, waterproofing, installing a top-sealing damper or addressing an improper chimney draft. Don’t suffer with foul chimney odors all summer; call or go online to schedule your appointment today!

By Steve Sobczak on June 15th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

We Fix Leaky and Stinky Chimneys!

You probably worry about your chimney in the fall, as you prepare for a winter season full of warm fires. The reality is that spring’s rain and summer’s warmer temperatures can cause problems with your fireplace and chimney. If your chimney gives you problems this spring, Total Chimney Care can help! We Fix Chimneys That Leak & Stink - New Haven - Fairfield CT - Total chimney Care-w800-h800

Leaky chimneys

Leaky chimneys are one of the most common problems during the spring and summer months. When spring’s rains hit, cracks or leaks in your chimney that developed over the winter can suddenly become evident and damage your chimney or your home’s structure.

Because unchecked leaks can lead to costly and extensive repairs, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of chimney leaks this spring. Walk around your chimney and look for cracked or crumbling bricks, crumbling mortar joints and discoloration. If you’re able, it’s also wise to check the top of your chimney to make sure your chimney cap is firmly in place and that the flashing at the base of the chimney hasn’t pulled away from the chimney or cracked. Inside your home, look for stains on your walls and ceiling near your chimney. A rusted damper or rusting fireplace doors can be a sign of a chimney leak.

If you notice any signs of leaks, don’t wait to have them checked by a chimney professional. A technician from Total Chimney Care can inspect your chimney leak and help you formulate a plan for repairing your chimney leak. Calling now gives you time to have your chimney repaired this summer, before you’re ready to use your chimney again next fall.

Stinky chimneys

Stinky chimneys can be a major problem when the weather heats up. The creosote that has collected on your chimney walls each time you burned a fire this winter can begin to stink on hot, humid summer days. Even worse, if an animal has made its way into your chimney and become trapped, that animal can begin to decay and stink as temperatures rise. Those smells can fill your home, making for unpleasant living and becoming difficult to get rid of.

The best way to guard against a stinky chimney is to have your chimney swept each spring. A spring chimney sweeping gets rid of creosote and would spot any trapped animals, helping you to avoid a stinky chimney and home.

Call Total Chimney Care to stave off chimney problems

Spring is the best time to address problems with your chimney. With stinky chimneys and leaky chimneys being the most common spring and summer problems, a spring chimney sweeping and inspection is the perfect way to address and avoid any chimney problems. Total Chimney Care happily performs spring chimney maintenance that keeps your chimney leak and odor free. If you notice any leaks or smells coming from your chimney, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment.

By Steve Sobczak on April 21st, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Dealing with a Leaky Chimney

You can easily stay on top of the maintenance of your chimney, but if you develop a substantial leak in your fireplace, you need to contact a certified professional as soon as possible.

You can easily stay on top of the maintenance of your chimney, but if you develop a substantial leak in your fireplace, you need to contact a certified professional as soon as possible.

Water can be your chimney’s biggest enemy, primarily due to the structural damages it can cause. With obvious signs like loose bricks on the exterior chimney and annual chimney sweeps and inspections, you can easily stay on top of the maintenance of your chimney, but if you develop a substantial leak in your fireplace, you need to contact a certified professional like Total Chimney Care immediately to assess and repair the leak. Our experienced technicians will find the leak’s location and fix what is causing the leak.

The Importance of Preventing Chimney Leaks

If you have a masonry chimney (or any chimney, for that matter), the Chimney Safety Institute of America stresses the importance of regular maintenance to prevent chimney leaks. However, when you are experiencing a chimney leak, you can relax after contacting Total Chimney Care because our expert technicians know exactly where to look and what to do. Some of the most common reasons for a leaky chimney include:

  • Damaged chimney cap or crown – The chimney cap or crown (a chimney crown is the masonry fireplace version of the chimney cap) is one of the most important parts of your chimney because it covers the top of your chimney, protecting it from rain water, animals, and debris. If your chimney cap or crown becomes cracked or damaged, it needs to either be repaired or replaced. Total Chimney Care specializes in masonry chimneys, and we guarantee our work rebuilding your cracked and damaged chimney crown.
  • Damaged or improperly installed flashing – Flashing is sheet metal that is installed around the exterior of the chimney to offer even more protection against water leaks; however, it does not last forever. Rusting causes the flashing to become ineffective and fails to prevent water from entering the chimney. Furthermore, although flashing is sold in DIY kits and promoted as easy to install, this is a job best left to professionals. Improperly installed flashing is one of the biggest causes of water leaks in chimneys.
  • Condensation – When a gas like water vapor transforms into the liquid form of water, condensation has occurred. If there is no physical damage to the chimney cap or crown or to the flashing, it is likely there is flue gas condensation causing the leaking in your chimney. Usually, to solve this problem, your chimney needs relining to keep the flue gases hotter to eliminate the condensation.

Waterproofing your Chimney

If you are not currently experiencing a leaky chimney, there is something you can do now to prevent this nightmare from happening to you: waterproofing. Recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America after your leaky chimney has been repaired and cleaned, a waterproofing treatment will extend the life of your chimney for years. Applied to your chimney by Total Chimney Care’s certified professionals, this waterproofing sealant will reduce the amount of water entering your chimney, decrease the erosion process from water, and preserve your chimney’s beauty and function.

Suffering from a leaky chimney is not fun, but before you panic, contact Total Chimney Care. Our certified repair associates are on hand to solve the problem and then protect you from this nightmare experience from happening again.

Leaky Roof or Leaky Chimney?

Determining whether water is getting in through the roof or the chimney can be tricky. The blame game gets misplayed both ways, with chimney leaks blamed on roofs and vice versa. In most cases, though, roof leaks occur where things like chimneys and other vents go through them.

Roof or Chimney Leak? - New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care

If the stain on your ceiling or walls is near the fireplace, a good inspection of the chimney is the place to begin. If your chimney crown looks like it could be the culprit due to cracks or improper construction, that is worth checking out. Place a temporary ‘water trap’ on top of it and see if that solves the problem for the next heavy rain.

If keeping water from the crown prevents the leak, the next thing to determine is why the crown is admitting water. If no visible damage is evident, its faulty construction is probably to blame, since improperly designed crowns are common. They need to direct water out and away, overhang the chase by a sufficient margin, and have a drip-guard beveled underside.

If the fault does not appear to lie with the crown, a careful inspection of the chase’s brick and mortar is next. Brick is porous and, over time, it deteriorates simply from constant exposure to water. The fact is that no material is impervious to water and time. This, too, can be checked with a garden hose, but it is complicated and time-consuming and requires at least two people.

By far the easiest way to determine if any part of the chimney is to blame is to have it checked by a CSIA certified sweep. Given the importance of catching leaks early to preserve the integrity of the chimney, the expense of a proper inspection is small. Whether you end up blaming the roof or the chimney, stopping the leak should be the end of all the games.

By Steve Sobczak on April 21st, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment