How to Find & Repair Chimney Leaks
A leaky chimney can be confusing. Where’s the leak coming from? Why is it happening? Has significant damage been done? What is required to fix the problem? If you’ve ever had a chimney leak, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions.
The problem with leaky chimneys is that many areas within the structure as well as the various chimney components could be responsible for the leak. Depending on the nature of the problem, you can perform basic repairs. In some cases, only a certified chimney repair technician should tackle the job.
Here are some common causes of chimney leaks.
Damaged or missing chimney cap
The chimney cap sits atop the chimney and acts as an umbrella to keep rain water out of the flue. When damaged or missing, water has a clear path into the chimney, where it will begin to cause damage to the structure. You may be able to repair a damaged chimney cap. However, when it comes to installing a new cap, you’re better off hiring a professional.
Cracks in the chimney crown
The cement chimney crown is the layer at the top of the chimney that seals off everything but the flue pipes. This beveled structure is an important guard against rain water and melting snow. When cracks begin appearing in the crown, larger cracks are inevitable down the line, and that’s all it takes to create a chimney leak.
You can buy a sealant to coat the crown, thereby solving a cracking problem for the time being. Eventually, your crown may need rebuilding or replacing. In this case, let a certified chimney repair tech do the work.
Mortar joint cracks
Mortar between the chimney’s bricks can begin to crack and decompose. When water gets into the cracks and freezes, the cracks expand, and more damage is done. Cracking can be minor, or it can be bad enough to cause bricks to become loose and fall away, which is a dangerous situation.
As with crowns, you may be able to resolve the problem with a seal coating to block moisture. When damage is more extensive, a chimney professional can perform tuckpointing, which replaces missing sections of masonry. Tuckpointing – and chimney rebuilding, if it comes to that – are jobs for individuals trained in this work.
The metal flashing that surrounds the chimney where it meets the roof can warp, rust and decompose over the years. When this happens, water will run down into the house and cause rotting in walls and ceilings.
Flashing looks simple, but it must be installed or repaired with great care. If you think you can do it, be extra careful in your work. If you don’t want to chance it, hire a pro.
Chimney leaks can lead to very serious problems within the chimney and the home itself. If you suspect you have a leaky chimney, contact Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford, CT. We will perform a thorough inspection to detect the cause of your leak and then remedy the situation quickly. Reach us at (860) 233-5770.