A chimney leak is a big problem. Whether the water comes into your chimney through the masonry itself, the flashing, the roof, or right down the uncapped flue, water will wreak havoc on a healthy chimney. Every material that makes up masonry is adversely affected by water, and your chimney is no different.
Water and Chimney Damage
It doesn’t matter what kind of water that enters your chimney. In winter it may be sleet and snow. In summer and spring, it’s likely humidity and rain, but it will cause the same damage to your home. The masonry may sustain more damage during winter due to the water freezing during low temperatures and expanding. This is a process called the freeze/thaw cycle that causes spalling masonry and other winter damage. This is only one way that water can affect your chimney. There are many others that are costly to repair and that will decrease the safety and efficiency of your system.
Deterioration – The firebox assemblies, central heating system, flue liner, and exterior mortar
Rust – Damper assemblies, fireplace accessories, glass doors, and adjacent wood
Stains – The walls and ceiling, chimney exterior (white, powdery stains on the surface and red/brown rust stains at the top), and greenish/black stains in the firebox that indicate mold.
Collapse – Tilting, collapse, and settlement of chimney structure
Looking at the extensive list of possible damage caused by a chimney leak, homeowners might panic when they find signs of water in the chimney. The best thing to do is to notice it!
Signs of a Chimney Leak
Many homeowners won’t notice signs of a chimney leak until there is serious damage behind the scenes. The best thing a homeowner can do for their home and their chimney system is to pay attention to the signs of a problem. When the chimney and fireplace begin to work improperly, it’s a sign of a problem, but here are other signs as well.
- Sounds of dripping or visible dripping in the fireplace or inside the chimney indicate a leak
- Odors of mildew or dirty laundry mean there is water present
- Dark greenish stains in the fireplace are the result of mold growth caused by moisture
- White, powdery stains on the masonry surface are left when water passes through the masonry and these minerals are left behind on the brick and mortar
- Red/brown stains at the top of the chimney are chiefly the result of rust from the chimney cap or chase cover becoming damaged or dislodged
- Leaks either near the chimney or in other areas of the house are usually caused by a chimney leak
So You Think You Have a Chimney Leak?
Now that you’ve discovered a possible chimney leak in your home, it’s time to call the professionals. Many homeowners might first want to call a roofer or general contractor, but this is not recommended. A general contractor cannot repair flashing (the most common cause of chimney leaks) or diagnose a chimney problem. Only a certified chimney sweep can properly diagnose and repair a chimney leak so that your home and your chimney are returned to safety and efficiency. Having the chimney repaired as soon as possible will save extra costs in repairs later and will even save damaged wall coverings, buckled paint, furniture, and more. Water damage doesn’t just affect the house itself, but also belongings and air quality.
Chimney Repairs in Burlington and Beyond
Residents of Burlington, Vermont and surrounding cities depend on Brickliners for all their chimney maintenance, diagnostics, and repairs. Our team is CSIA certified and experienced in all our federal and local fire safety and building codes. When you trust Brickliners with your chimney care, you trust the professionals that your friends and neighbors trust.
When you call Brickliners for a chimney leak, the first thing we’ll check is the flashing. It can become dislodged over time or due to animal tampering, and we can fix it up in a jiff. We also install chimney caps when they’re dislodged or damaged, repair or replace chimney crowns, and repair damaged masonry too. While a general contractor may fix damage to the home caused by a leak, they cannot repair the chimney and are unable to stop it. We can.
At Brickliners we even apply a vapor-permeable water repellent to the chimney so that water cannot penetrate the porous masonry. Your masonry is designed this way so that it ‘breathes’ while it’s venting the fire. Unfortunately, the very thing that makes masonry ideal for chimneys also makes it vulnerable to water damage. Our water repellent penetrates deeply into the masonry and keeps water molecules out while still allowing vapor and heat to escape the chimney. This treatment lasts for years and protects your masonry from water penetration year-round.
When you have a chimney leak, the first thing you might see is dollar signs. The thought of calling a professional may stress you out, but catching the leak early is the best thing you can do for your chimney system and your home. As soon as you notice a problem, call on Brickliners.
Call Brickliners at 802-872-0123 or schedule online.