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I Think my Chimney is Leaking!

I Think My Chimney Is Leaking - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MIIn addition to hearing a dripping sound, there are many signs that may indicate that your chimney is leaking. You may notice that your fireplace develops a musty smell, especially after rain or snow. You may also notice water in the firebox or drips on the walls or ceiling. You might even see that pieces of the brick, mortar, or masonry of your chimney are cracked, chipping, or falling apart. All of these are symptoms that your chimney has developed a leak.

Luckily, a leaky chimney or water damage does not have to mean your chimney is unusable. By identifying the source or the leak, stopping the water entry, and repairing any damage the water caused, your fireplace and chimney can continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

What causes chimneys to leak?

Because chimneys are complex structures with many different components, finding the source of a leak can sometimes be difficult. However, once you notice that your chimney is letting water in it is important to find and stop the leak as soon as possible to prevent costly or extensive damage.

One of the most common causes of water entry is an uncapped chimney or a damaged chimney cap. When there is nothing covering the entrance to the top of the flue water from rain, hail, sleet, and snow are all able to enter the chimney. Likewise, cracks or damage to the chimney crown can also cause leaking and water entry.

Another way that water can get in is if the chimney flashing has lost its watertight seal. The flashing, or the sealant that connects the chimney to the roof, can lose its seal due to age, damage, improper installation, or even the house structure settling. Flashing that was nailed in may even allow trace amounts of water in through the area surrounding the nail holes.

Can my leaky chimney be fixed?

Once the cause of the chimney leak has been identified, the cause of the leak as well as any damage the leaking has caused should be able to be repaired. For homes with a damaged or missing chimney cap, installing a new cap will protect your chimney from water entry as well as prevent animals or debris from falling into the flue. Chimney crowns can also be patched, sealed, or replaced to prevent water entry into your home.

If damaged or aging flashing is the cause of the leaking, it should be replaced as soon as possible. As flashing protects both the chimney and the roof from water entry, leaky flashing can also cause damage to the ceiling, framing, or roof below.

How to prevent a leaky chimney

One of the best ways to prevent water damage is by having your chimney inspected annually. A yearly chimney inspection  will alert you to any changes or damage to your fireplace system. These inspections often uncover small problems that can be quickly and inexpensively fixed before their turn into large and costly issues.

If you suspect that your chimney is leaking, the best thing you can do is call a certified chimney sweep to assess the condition of your chimney. At Clean Sweeps of Michigan we perform a 25 point leak inspection in order to find and fix the areas of water entry. Let our expert staff stop your leaking chimney today!

3 Ways Water Damages Chimneys

Water is the source of life, but not for chimneys. It can cause so many chimney-related issues. See to it that water doesn't seep in and cause problems.

Water is the source of life, but not for chimneys. It can cause deterioration and different kinds of issues. See to it that water doesn’t seep in and cause problems.

If your chimney springs a leak (or 10), it will quickly respond by beginning to deteriorate. That is why those of us at Clean Sweeps & Air Duct Cleaners of Michigan recommend doing your best to prevent chimney leaks and responding as soon as possible if you or your chimney sweep have detected a leak. Why? Chimney leaks can be very costly to repair because they quickly spread to adjacent areas like walls, ceilings, and floors and because they grow exponentially worse over time.

Unfortunately, even well-built chimneys may eventually leak. The key to preventing this is regular maintenance—we recommend annual inspections and sweepings—which will ensure that your chimney receives regular attention from a C.S.I.A. trained professional. Our chimney sweeps actually utilize a 25-Point Leak Inspection process to identify the source of the leak and locate any damage that may have been done.

There are many ways in which water can attack the efficiency, safety, and performance of your chimney, including the three following:

Water destroys chimney masonry.

We have seen moisture have numerous negative effects on chimney brick and order, including gapping, spalling, cracking, staining, and crumbling. Once needed masonry repairs have been made, we recommend applying a waterproofing agent to your chimney to keep it protected and sealed in future years.

Water cracks or rusts important components.

If a chimney component such as a cap, damper, or flashing was improperly installed or if an inferior material was used, it may have rusted or broken, allowing water into the chimney. Often times we can repair faulty components, though we may need to completely replace a part if the quality is not good.

Water creates mold and/or mildew.

The existence of damp, musty odors is a pretty sure sign that your chimney has become the unwitting home to mold or mildew, which notoriously destroys the surfaces where it takes root. Mold can also be harmful to your health, not to mention foul smelling. Mostly, though, mold in or around your chimney indicates the presence of water, which can only mean that damage is already taking place in your chimney and will likely grow worse.

Our technicians at Clean Sweeps & Air Duct Cleaners of Michigan will be able to quickly and correctly detect the source of your leak and repair it for the long haul so that you can get back to using your chimney with confidence. Have a leaky chimney and live in the Jackson or Ann Arbor area? Call us today at 517-783-4560 if you live in Jackson or 734-668-4780 if you live in Ann Arbor.

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