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Leaky Chimney Advice from Chimney Experts

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One of the most common reasons chimney services companies are called out is to deal with leaky chimneys. When caught early and repaired correctly, a leaky chimney will not keep causing you problems down the line.

When chimney leaks are ignored, serious damage throughout the system can occur over time. This is another common reason chimney services companies are hired.

Why your chimney is leaking

Common signs of a leaky chimney:

  1. Water in the firebox
  2. Damp sections of walls and/or the ceiling near the fireplace or chimney
  3. White staining on exterior chimney masonry
  4. Crumbling bricks or mortar
  5. Strong, musty odors coming from the fireplace

A leaky chimney means water is somehow getting into the system. Assuming you have a chimney cap blocking the top of the flue from rain and snow, water most commonly infiltrates through cracks in the bricks and mortar and warped or damaged chimney flashing, which is supposed to seal the gap between your roof and chimney.

Masonry and/or flashing damage can be caused by or result from:

  • Lightning strikes
  • Earthquakes
  • Hail storms
  • Powerful wind storms
  • Extreme hot and cold weather
  • Normal house-settling
  • An unstable chimney footing
  • Inferior bricks and mortar used to build the chimney
  • Poor workmanship in constructing your chimney
  • Plain old age

The cycle of chimney damage

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Once water has entered the system, more damage is usually on the way. Water decays masonry. Depending on the extent of the decay and its location, you may be heading toward damage to adjacent home building materials, a mold outbreak, poisonous combustion gases moving into your house, or a house fire.

Severely damaged chimneys also may begin to lean to one side and eventually collapse, putting parts of the home and those who live in it at risk.

What once were minor chimney leaks can progress to all the above problems and more.

Repairing a leaky chimney

Various chimney repair tasks can fix leak issues.

  • For minor leaks, chimney waterproofing can help by sealing the masonry with a water-tight application to prevent further water infiltration.
  • Tuckpointing is a process where damaged masonry sections are replaced with a strong new compound, thus stopping water from getting in.
  • If bricks are cracked and damaged, brick replacement or brick repair can resolve the problem.
  • Chimneys with no chimney caps will allow water to continually flow into the system. Adding a new full-width chimney cap will block the water.
  • Chimney flashing should be flat and secure. Your chimney repair technician can repair or replace damaged flashing.
  • Partial or complete chimney rebuilding will restore strength to the structure and allow it to operate safely and efficiently for many years to come.

The value of annual chimney inspections

Having your chimney inspected once a year by a CSIA-certified chimney professional is the best way to keep chimney leaks from causing serious damage. During an inspection, leaky areas will be spotted and the reason for the leaks will be determined. You can then schedule repair work to fix the problem.

Chimney inspections go beyond leak detection. Depending on your needs, a thorough inspection can look at all areas and components of your chimney system including its venting efficiency. Getting your chimney inspected annually can save you big money down the line and keep your chimney from being dangerous to you and your home.

Above & Beyond Chimney Service of Dedham, MA, serves the entire Massachusetts South Shore region with certified chimney cleaning, chimney inspections, chimney repairs and chimney leak resolution.
Call (781) 383-0415 to speak with an expert who understands your chimney inside and out.