The chimney is a crucial component of a home with a fireplace, but it can quickly fall into disrepair without proper maintenance. One of the most common problems chimney owners face is leaks. Knowing why leaks happen allows you to take preventative measures to keep your chimney in tip-top shape and avoid costly repairs. Let’s look at what causes chimney leaks and what you can do about them.

Cracked or Damaged Chimney Crown

Chimney masonry repair in Pottstown, PA

The chimney crown is a concrete slab that covers the top of the chimney and is essential for protecting it from harsh weather. Over time, constant exposure to the elements can cause the crown to crack and deteriorate. Once cracks appear, water seeps in, causing leaks.

Faulty Flashing

Flashing is a metal strip that seals the gap between the chimney and the roof. If the flashing isn’t properly installed, damaged, or corroded, it can let water in, causing leaks around the chimney.

Masonry Damage

Bricks and mortar joints in the chimney can deteriorate over time from weather exposure. Cracks in the bricks or missing mortar joints can create avenues for water to enter the chimney.

Damaged or Missing Chimney Cap

A chimney cap keeps rain, debris, and animals out of the chimney. If there is no cap or if it’s damaged, rainwater can enter the flue, leading to leaks.

Roofing Issues

Sometimes, the source of a chimney leak isn’t the chimney itself but the surrounding roof. Damaged shingles, clogged gutters, or ice dams can cause water to pool around the chimney and get in.

Damage from Chimney Leaks

Chimney leaks can cause a range of home damage, impacting the structure and interior. Here’s what can happen if a chimney leak goes unfixed.

Structural Damage

Water can erode the bricks and mortar, weakening the chimney’s structure, which could lead to leaning or collapse. Metal components like the damper can rust, and water infiltration can lead to brick spalling, where the bricks break into pieces.

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Interior Damage

Water causes unsightly stains on walls, ceilings, and around the fireplace.

Paint and wallpaper can peel, and excess moisture creates a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Insulation and Drywall Damage

Water can saturate the insulation around the chimney, reducing its effectiveness, and leaks can cause drywall to warp, crumble, or develop mold.

Fire Hazard

Water can damage the chimney liner, which is crucial for containing the heat and combustion byproducts, increasing the risk of a chimney fire.

Protecting Your Chimney Against Leaks

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s true when it comes to chimney leaks. Protecting your chimney against leaks is essential to maintaining its structural integrity and saving money on extensive repairs. Here are some tips.

Install a Chimney Cap

Chimney caps are an inexpensive investment that will protect your chimney from rain, snow, and debris from entering the flue and causing problems. Additionally, caps help keep animals out of the chimney, where they can build nests and cause obstructions.

Waterproof the Chimney

Applying a waterproof sealant to the chimney’s exterior can prevent water from penetrating the masonry. A high-quality, breathable masonry sealant can allow water vapor to escape while keeping liquid water out. This prevents moisture from getting trapped inside and can significantly extend your chimney’s lifespan.

Repair Cracks and Deteriorated Mortar

Schedule annual chimney inspections by a reputable chimney sweep to check for cracked bricks or deteriorating mortar joints and fix them as soon as possible. The longer you wait to conduct repairs, the worse the damage gets and the more expensive it will be to fix.

professional chimney maintenance in Pottstown, PAMaintain the Flashing

As mentioned, the flashing seals the junction between the chimney and the roof. Over time, the flashing can become damaged, allowing water to seep in. While conducting a chimney inspection, ask the contractor to check the flashing, too, and repair or replace it if needed.

Keep Gutters Clean

Gutter cleaning should be part of routine home maintenance. Clearing debris that can cause gutters to clog is a simple way to help direct water away from the chimney and roof.

Call Wells & Sons

Wells & Sons is a family-owned and operated chimney and fireplace service company with over 45 years of experience. Whether you need chimney waterproofing, inspection, cleaning, relining, repairing, dryer vent services, or anything else, our certified experts can handle it.

We proudly serve customers in Allentown, Pottstown, Phoenixville, and the surrounding areas.

Contact us today at 610-473-6000.