After a long winter, the advent of spring is a welcome change in pace in the weather. While the changing seasons mean longer temperatures, warmer days, and more time spent outside, it can also bring plenty of rainstorms.
Although rain and water are a necessary part of spring’s renewal, they can have devastating effects on your chimney. This year, make sure your chimney is waterproofed before any April showers cause a leaky chimney!
What causes chimney leaks?
Chimneys look deceivingly simple; what appears to be nothing more than a straight column of bricks and mortar is actually a complex structure. Due to the complexity of the chimney structure, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint exactly where a chimney leak is coming from. The following are three of the most common culprits for chimney leaks.
- Chimney cap: The chimney cap covers the top of the flue, protecting the flue and fireplace against water, animals, and debris. If the chimney cap is damaged – or in some cases, missing – the flue is unprotected and can be quickly damaged by the elements.
- Flashing: Flashing is the weatherproof strip that protects the joint between the chimney and roofline. Damaged flashing can cause significant damage to your home, affecting not just the chimney but also walls, ceilings, and structural elements. Flashing may lose its seal over time due to being incorrectly installed, damage from animals or storms, or over-exposure to the elements.
- Masonry: Water can have a devastating effect on masonry chimneys, causing bricks to crack, spall, and fall away. Damaged bricks absorb greater amounts of water, leading to further and increasingly expansive masonry damage.
Signs of a leaky chimney
There are a number of ways to tell if your chimney is leaking or if you are experiencing water damage. One of the most common and easiest to spot signs of a leaky chimney is water in the firebox; this most commonly occurs after a rain storm and may be accompanied by a tell-tale drip drip. In addition, some chimneys with water damage may have a dank, musty odor during warm weather or after a rainstorm. Finally, chipped or cracked bricks on the chimney itself may indicate the masonry has been damaged by water.
How to prevent chimney leaks
There are a number of steps homeowners can take to protect their chimneys against water damage. One of the most important things you can do is to have an annual chimney inspection. Water entry can cause damage to the interior portion of a chimney long before it is noticed. Because of this, a chimney inspection should be performed each year to ensure your chimney has not experienced water damage.
In addition to an annual chimney inspection, homeowners should also consider protecting their chimney with a masonry sealer. These specially designed products are an excellent way to protect the bricks and mortar of your chimney structure against the elements. Masonry sealers are recommended even if you are not experiencing any current chimney leaks; they can greatly extend the life of your chimney over time.
If you’re worried that you may be experiencing a leaky chimney, contact Coopertown Services today! Our expert staff can not only repair any damage caused by water entry, but can also weatherproof your chimney to prevent chimney leaks from happening.