The Truth About Chimney Leaks
Moisture is one of your fireplace’s worst enemies here in Tennessee. Anyone that says otherwise is just not telling you the truth. A leaking chimney is one that is deteriorating in front of your eyes and repairing it must not be put off. If you do delay, you may need extensive masonry work on your chimney and even on your fireplace.
Though the flood of 2010 was unusual, we all know that Nashville, TN gets a lot of rain throughout the year and those cold rainy winters are tough on your chimney. That’s because most chimneys are constructed with brick, which is a porous material held together by mortar, which is a water soluble material. The inside of the chimney is composed of metal, which is a material that’s highly susceptible to rust.
Now that you know what your chimney is made of and how it’s put together, you can understand why the recurring exposure to moisture severely compromises a chimney’s performance as well as its structural integrity. Water is notorious for causing damage you cannot see. It’s the hidden damage from moisture that can cause chimneys to crack, seep, and even fall down altogether. This is especially true after a major event such as a lightning strike or tornado where unknown weaknesses have gone unnoticed. Just take a look at our Chimneys Gone Wild!
3 Ways to Avoid Moisture Related Damage
1. Find all the places near your fireplace and chimneys where water likes to “hang out.”
- Clear leaves from gutters on a regular basis, and repair any gutters that are broken. Examine your downspout locations in relation to the chimney. Downspout terminations that are uphill of the chimney, or that drain at the chimney base, pose risks and should therefore be diverted.
- Prune trees that hang over or near your chimney. Rain and dew that collects on trees is a frequent cause of masonry deterioration.
- Check for poor drainage and address this problem as soon as possible.
- Repair any leaks in the flashing (or seal) between your roofing material and the chimney.
- Make sure sprinklers are watering plants – not your chimney. Change the sprinkler head or your watering pattern as needed.
2. Consider asking Ashbusters to waterproof your chimney. Or, have a chimney cap installed, or a new crown constructed, to prevent water from collecting in your firebox through the flue or chase.
3. Check for cracks in your chimney, deteriorated mortar joints, and weakened masonry. If you find any of the above, call Ashbusters for an evaluation.
What to Do When a Leak Is Found
If you hear or see water dripping into the firebox or streaking down the firebox wall or from the ceiling or wall where your fireplace resides, please call us immediately. We cannot be clear enough about this as water leaks can potentially cause you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs to the chimney system, ceilings, mantels, walls and flooring in your home. The sooner the issue is addressed, located and stopped, the better it is for you and your family, not to mention damage to your home.
If you call out a roofer and he tells you he can’t find anything leaking on the roof, call us! Roofing companies know roofing, we know chimneys and we know what the most common issues are when it comes to leaks in and around your chimney. Please do no misunderstand, we love and work very closely with a number of roofing companies in the Middle Tennessee area. However, we are not expert roofers and would never try to repair something that we do not have expertise in. We have seen some try and fail to the horror of the customer. If the leak involves or you think could involve a chimney system, call us first.