Preventing Chimney Leaks in Severe Weather
Virginia has two of the cities in the U.S. most vulnerable to hurricanes, those being Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Richmond has its share of blinding rain and damaging winds, as well. Chimneys are vulnerable to leaks, in general. With the extreme rainy weather in Virginia, it makes sense to ensure that your chimney doesn’t leak by taking preventative steps. The following are steps to protect your chimney from damaging moisture.
Install a Chimney Cap
As important as chimney caps are, you would think they would be included as standard equipment. They are accessories, however. No one should leave their fireplace vulnerable to the amount of moisture that can get into a chimney without a chimney cap. Not only does a rain cap prevent rain, sleet, and snow from going into your chimney, it can also keep animals out and serve as a spark guard to prevent rooftop fires.
Inspect for Damage
There are certain components of the chimney that should be routinely checked for signs of damage because when they fail, the chimney becomes vulnerable to moisture, a condition that’s worsened on rainy days.
- The chimney crown is the white cement top of the chimney. Its purpose is to keep moisture out of the chimney system, particularly between the exterior of the chimney and the flue. Check the chimney crown for cracks. They commonly occur because of exposure to the elements. Repair can usually be done, but sometimes the damage has gone too far and an entire rebuild of the chimney crown becomes necessary.
- If you have a chimney built with wood siding, check to see if loose knots and cracks have developed. When this type of deterioration occurs, water is able to get in behind the siding, causing water damage in the home. The siding and chimney need to be adequately sealed, to keep out moisture.
- The mortar on a masonry chimney lasts a maximum of about 25 years. When the mortar begins to crack and flake off, the entire chimney system becomes vulnerable to moisture. If water gets into the masonry structure as a result of damaged mortar, freeze-and-thaw cycles in winter will cause the bricks to expand and contract. The bricks begin breaking and flaking off. If the damage hasn’t gone too far, a procedure called “tuckpointing” can replace the damaged mortar and restore structural integrity to the chimney.
- The flashing around a chimney, where it connects to the rooftop, is vulnerable to leaking. For this reason, the flashing should be routinely checked. If water gets in through an area as small as a rusted nail, the result could be serious roof damage.
2 Preventative Measures
In addition to checking for damage, there are two additional steps you may want to take to prevent moisture damage to your chimney. One is to waterproof your chimney. This is something that anyone could benefit from. The chimney structure has an extra layer of protection against moisture infiltration with proper waterproofing.
You may benefit from having a cricket installed on your roof. These are built to deflect rain from deluging the chimney. Crickets are recommended when the roof is steep and for chimneys that are 30-plus inches wide.
Contact Chimney Saver Solutions
Our experts at Chimney Saver Solutions can provide expert chimney inspections and needed repair, including chimney rebuilds. Contact our professionals today to schedule waterproofing, an inspection, chimney cleaning, or whatever you need for your fireplace and chimney. Our chimney sweeps also know how to identify the source of moisture leaks and put a stop to damage.