Recognizing the signs of a chimney leak is an important skill for any homeowner. Even the smallest water leaks can cause deterioration to the bricks and mortar of your chimney. Being aware of the signs of leakage can save you money in expensive chimney repairs as well as protecting your chimney from damage. In worst case scenarios, water deterioration can lead to the collapse of the entire structure.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America names water as the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys. The worst damage is often caused during the winter, when moisture gets into the bricks and mortar and then freezes and expands. As the freeze-thaw cycle continues, the water thaws and can cause the masonry materials to crack and break apart.
Recognizing the signs of a chimney leak is an important skill for any homeowner. Water on the floor of your firebox is a clear sign that something is amiss, but not all signs are so obvious. Rusted metal parts, such as the damper, can be another sign that water is where it shouldn’t be. A musty odor, dripping sounds, and stains on the ceiling or walls near the chimney are other signs that you should take action.
In addition to internal signs, the exterior of your chimney can give you clues that indicate water leakage. Damaged or missing bricks and mortar joints are one of the most clear signs of water damage in a chimney. White efflorescence stains on the masonry are another sign.
Whether you have already noticed signs of water leakage, or are just interested in keeping your chimney in good condition, an annual inspection by a CSIA-certified chimney technician is a great idea. These technicians have years of experience in finding and repairing leaks with expert masonry techniques.
Chimney technicians can use techniques like tuckpointing, chimney crown construction, and waterproof sealant to guard your home against the damage water can cause. If you don’t already have one, installation of a chimney cap is a great way to prevent water damage as well as making sure wild animals and debris don’t enter your chimney.
Give me a call at 610-626-2439 if you’re not sure whether you need to worry about chimney maintenance. One of the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service can inspect your chimney to make sure it’s properly serviced each year.