A Guide to Finding Chimney Leaks

May 4, 2020

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Crumbling chimney

Chimney leaks are cause for concern not only because water in the chimney can eventually weaken the chimney, but whenever you have excess water in your home, you run the risk of a mold problem as well. A regular chimney cleaning in Kennesaw includes an inspection that will ensure any leaks are detected and addressed, but it’s important to check your chimney between chimney inspections to watch for other signs of leaking. Here are some common areas chimney leaks occur and how you can spot them to get the repairs you need.

Signs of a Leak

It’s not normal to find water or moisture in your chimney, which is why it’s important to check for moisture and then pinpoint the source. Some leaks might be obvious enough that puddles form in the fireplace. Less apparent signs include white residue on the chimney bricks. This is caused by salt deposits from water or condensation in the chimney. If you notice the brick flaking away, which is called spalling, you likely have water in the chimney. There are numerous potential causes of this.

Crumbling Masonry

Perhaps the easiest way to spot a chimney leak is obvious damage to the masonry. If your chimney is severely damaged with crumbling areas, you can be certain there’s a leak. Unfortunately, at this point, there’s usually not much to be done besides have the chimney rebuilt. Locating less obvious signs of leaks can help you avoid getting to this point.

Chimney Cap

The chimney cap prevents rainwater from falling directly into the chimney, which is why it’s important to inspect it periodically. If the cap is missing or has been damaged, you not only run the risk of moisture in your chimney, but pests can actually build nests in your chimney and cause a blockage.

Chimney Crown

The cement portion at the top of the chimney is the crown. When the cement begins to wear out and crack, water will begin to slowly seep into the chimney. The water will often go in between the masonry and flue, which increases the potential for damage to the interior of your home. Fortunately, a damaged crown can usually be easily fixed if noticed in the early stages.

Mortar

Another important component of a regular chimney inspection is a check of the mortar joints. The joints can deteriorate over time, which leaves cracks and holes for water to enter. The larger the missing sections are, the easier it is for rain to enter, especially when the wind blows the rain sideways. Repairing the mortar can help prevent extensive water damage.

Flashing

The flashing on the roof where the chimney enters the home is vital for creating a waterproof barrier. Storms can eventually cause holes or tears in the flashing that allow water to penetrate your home. Just like it’s a good idea to check the condition of your roof after storms with high winds, it’s important to check the flashing around the chimney as well to ensure it’s in good condition.

What to Do about Leaks

When you know you have a chimney leak, it’s important to get it addressed as soon as possible. A chimney technician can repair damage to chimney components that’s resulted in leaks, but you may want to consider waterproofing your chimney as well. That’s because, over time, the bricks and mortar can lose their outer shell that blocks out water. Having the chimney waterproofed can address this problem and keep your chimney free of water. For Kennesaw fireplace repair, cleaning, and inspections, contact Atlanta Chimney Doctor today.

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