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Why Damp Chimneys Can Cause Problems for Your Home

Cracked Chimney CrownMoisture in chimneys means trouble for homeowners. It is widely said among experts that moisture is chimney enemy number one. This common problem is often ignored, which leads to more damage and higher repair costs. A damp chimney is an indication that something is wrong, but the fact that damage is occurring is often far from obvious.

Find the cause of a damp chimney.

One of the reasons it’s best to call a professional chimney technician if you notice that your chimney is damp is because the cause can be difficult to identify. Actually, one of the many benefits of an annual chimney inspection is that an expert is often the person who alerts homeowners that they have a damp chimney. There are several possible underlying problems, including the following:

  • Although chimney masonry can last a century or longer, the mortar that binds it together may last 25 years tops. When mortar cracks and crumbles, moisture can get into the masonry.
  • The chimney crown is the cement at the top of the chimney. If the crown becomes cracked or chipped, rain can seep in between the flue and the masonry exterior.
  • If there is no chimney cap or if the chimney cap is damaged, moisture is able to pour directly into your chimney.
  • One of the biggest culprits is damaged or deteriorating flashing. The installation of flashing is difficult. If not done correctly, there is an even greater chance of a chimney leak caused by faulty flashing.

What kind of damage does a damp chimney do?

Different kinds of damage can occur as a result of chimney moisture, and the type usually depends on the source.

  • If expired mortar is the cause of a damp chimney, the bricks can begin to chip off and break. The moisture expanding and contracting during freezing and thaw cycles in winter is what causes the bricks to begin crumbling. If the damaged mortar isn’t replaced, the entire chimney structure could eventually lean or collapse altogether.
  • Moisture entering through cracks in the chimney crown can compromise the chimney structure in a way similar to damaged mortar.
  • If ran pours into the chimney flue, the moisture can mix with the toxins in creosote and cause the flue to deteriorate prematurely. A fireplace should not be used if the flue has even the smallest crack. Rain in your chimney can also cause your damper and other chimney and fireplace components to rust badly enough to need replacement.
  • Leaky flashing can do some serious damage to your roof. The problem can be a stealthy one. Before a homeowner is aware there is a chimney leak because of flashing, the entire roof can end up with significant structural damage. Sheetrock and other components of the home can also need repair.
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Installing a chimney cap can help keep damaging moisture out of your chimney system.

Preventative measures to avoid a damp chimney

Professional waterproofing of your chimney exterior can help prevent moisture damage. The best preventative measure for avoiding a damp chimney, however, is to schedule an annual chimney inspection.

Professional chimney sweeps know what to look for.They can spot moisture damage others don’t notice. Most importantly, our chimney experts can help you keep to a minimum any needed repair costs related to your damp chimney.

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