How to Detect Chimney Leaks
Relaxing by a warm fire is one of winter’s great pleasures; but even when a fireplace is operating just as it should, there could be an undetected chimney leak. Moisture gets into chimney systems in various ways, causing damage to the chimney structure and also possibly in a home’s interior. Water stains on walls and ceilings near the chimney are usually caused by a chimney leak. Other signs aren’t as easy to spot or you may not recognize them as evidence of moisture damage.
It’s often difficult to pinpoint where exactly a chimney leak is coming from. It can ultimately save you money on repairs if you check for leaks periodically. If you see any of the following, it’s important to call a chimney professional.
Mortar protects masonry from moisture. If sections of mortar are missing or if there are deep fissures in the mortar, you may have a chimney leak. Without watertight mortar joints, water is able to enter the masonry system. The damage might include moisture staining on your interior walls and deteriorating masonry.
If you spot damaged mortar early enough, you may be able to prevent water intrusion. A procedure called “tuckpointing” involves removal of old mortar and the addition of fresh mortar that gives the chimney a fresh new look and strengthened stability.
The metal portion of your chimney is the chimney flashing, and it is among the most common causes of a chimney leak. One of the reasons flashing is a good place to start checking for leaks is because it’s very difficult to install correctly. The purpose of flashing is to create a waterproof seal where the chimney and roof connect, but it requires a skilled expert to do the job right. You may be able to tell by looking that the metal flashing is damaged. Sometimes there are gaps between the chimney bricks and the flashing, where there might be sealants such as tar paper.
If you need chimney flashing repair, be sure the job is done by an experienced chimney professional who has experience and training creating the essential watertight seal.
A Damaged or Missing Chimney Cap
Every chimney should have a chimney cap installed over the flue so that rain, snow, and sleet can’t fall directly into the chimney. Chimney caps can become damaged, & eventually, they deteriorate and need to be replaced. A chimney leak may be caused by a damaged chimney cap or the lack of one.
Cracked Mud Cap
The tops of chimneys have a mortared area known as the chimney crown or the mud cap. A chimney’s vulnerability to moisture is partly because of this chimney component. The purpose of the crown is to keep water from getting between the flue and the chimney exterior. The material doesn’t stand up well to harsh outdoor elements, however, and cracks are prone to form. Caught early, cracks can be repaired, to prevent a chimney leak.
Call Chimney Saver Solutions
Avoid the expense and frustration involved with repairing a serious chimney leak by scheduling annual chimney inspections. Call the certified professionals at Chimney Saver Solutions at 804-440-5000 today. If you will also watch for signs of a leaky chimney, you’re able to enjoy your fireplace in perfect peace.