Ahh! We Have Chimney Leaks!
Neglecting chimney maintenance can result in exasperation and a call to trusted chimney sweeps, crying, “Help! We have chimney leaks!” A good way to avoid water spots on your ceilings and walls, peeling wallpaper, roof damage, and leaks on your floors is to schedule annual chimney inspections. Chimney leaks have various causes that can be difficult to pinpoint. The following are reasons chimney leaks could have you screaming, “Ahhh!”
Damaged Chimney Crown
The white part at the very top of the chimney is the chimney crown, and it is constantly exposed to the elements. Homes built between the 1970s and 1990s were often rushed construction projects. Many times, leftover mortar for bricks was used to construct chimney crowns. Unfortunately, the material is softer than the appropriate material, which is a harder type of concrete that more reliably helps keep moisture out of the chimney system.
Although the chimney crowns built with mortar materials are even more vulnerable, correctly constructed chimney crowns also tend to crack and deteriorate. If moisture gets into the chimney crown, it can work its way throughout the chimney system. The real trouble comes during winter when freezing and thawing cycles cause the moisture to expand and contract. The movement opens up even bigger pathways for moisture to travel and causes the destruction of bricks.
The chimney crown is not the only place where mortar can result in a chimney leak. Brick chimneys can last a century or more, but the mortar between the bricks lasts only up to about 25 years. If the mortar wears away, moisture gets into the masonry system and can ultimately leak into your home. The best solution for deteriorating mortar is to catch the problem early and schedule tuckpointing. Instead of having to rebuild your chimney because of moisture intrusion, tuckpointing is a procedure whereby old mortar is removed and replaced with new mortar. The process is far less expensive than a chimney rebuild and, yet, results in a like-new chimney structure.
No Chimney Cap
If there is not a chimney cap at the top of the chimney flue, the natural result is that rain, snow, sleet, and debris will go directly into your chimney. Although chimney caps are referred to as accessories, they are essential. You can have a standard flue cap installed or opt for an outside-mount custom chimney cap that will also provide additional protection to the chimney crown. Outside-mount chimney caps are more aesthetically pleasing and protect the entire top of the chimney from moisture.
Condensation from Gas Furnaces
If your gas furnace is attached to your masonry chimney, you can end up with a chimney leak caused by excess condensation. Low-temperature gas fumes contain a lot of moisture. If there is no chimney flue, if the flue liner is too large, and/or if the chimney is too cold, the moisture can result in a chimney leak. This issue is usually resolved with the installation of a correctly sized chimney liner.
Chimney Flashing Leaks
The number one cause of chimney leaks is the chimney flashing. The metal portion of the chimney is there to create a watertight seal between the chimney and the roof. It is difficult to install flashing correctly. A fairly large gap is often left between the bricks and the roof, resulting in significant water leaks that cause roof damage. If the flashing does not seal properly against the bricks, water intrusion into the chimney system can also occur. These types of leaks can go on for some time before they are detected. Scheduling annual chimney inspections, as recommended by fire safety experts, can help you avoid costly chimney and roof leaks caused by leaky flashing.
Contact Northeastern Chimney Today
At Northeastern Chimney, we care about our customers and helping them avoid chimney leaks, not to mention addressing issues related to the safety of home and family. If you need to schedule a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, chimney repairs, masonry repairs, a masonry rebuild, or any other chimney services, give us a call today at 860-233-5770. Have a chimney leak? We offer friendly customer service and specialize in fixing chimney leaks, too, even the kind that might have you crying, “Ahhh!”