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5 Things To Do If Your Chimney Is Leaking Water

House with chimney

Your Guide To Diagnosing And Solving Your Leaky Chimney Problem

A leaky chimney, like a leaky nose, is annoying — and all the more so if it’s a dreary and rainy day.

When it’s pouring outside, the last thing you want to hear is a steady plink…plink…plink coming from your chimney.

A leaky chimney might sound like the very thing your roof (and your chimney for that matter) is designed to prevent. But, your chimney is just a gaping hole in your roof that leads straight into your home.

So, it makes sense that if any part of your chimney is not waterproof, or if your chimney is missing a protective part, you might have the misfortune of letting more in through your chimney than you bargained for.

Here’s the good news: If your chimney is on the leaky side, there is a very limited list of things that can possibly be wrong. Once you identify the source of the leak, you’ve solved half of your problem because the issue is usually easily fixable.

These are the five common culprits of a leaky chimney:

1. Cover Your Chimney

First things first — is your chimney a wide open pipeline to anything that falls from the heavens? If yes, you’re in trouble.

If your chimney is not securely covered, it can become a haven for rain, snow, and little critters. Don’t let your chimney be a sitting duck for any bird to call it home, or wait for it to fill with water during every storm. Get ahead of these issues by making sure your chimney has a well-fitting cover.

A word to the wise — it’s not a brilliant idea to attempt to install your chimney cover yourself, because that might lead to the next possible cause of your chimney leak.

2. Fill In The Blanks

There are different kinds of covers for your chimney. Depending on the style and material of the covers, they can be called chimney crowns, chase covers, or caps.

Chimney covers aren’t perfect, and over time they can rust over, develop cracks, or wear down from exposure to harsh weather and old age. If cracks and crevices form in your chimney cover, it’s very likely that water will begin seeping in.

Another possible cause for cracks in your chimney cover is improper installation or poor quality materials. That’s why it’s a good idea to steer clear of DIY chimney projects. You probably won’t find out that you installed your chimney cover incorrectly until it’s too late.

Once water begins dripping in through your chimney, after repeated freezing and thawing, the cracks widen and it’s a matter of time before your small leak turns into a deluge. Often, it’s too late to fill in the cracks and it’s necessary to replace the entire chimney crown.

3. Kill Condensation

If this one sounds unusual, that’s because it is. The only time condensation will form on the inside of your chimney is if your wood furnace was converted into a gas furnace and your chimney wasn’t renovated to accommodate this switch.

Since a gas furnace causes moisture buildup and a wooden furnace doesn’t, you’ll need to have a moisture-proof liner installed in your chimney if you have a gas furnace.

Although it’s more than likely that your chimney is already lined, if you live in a home with a gas furnace it’s a good idea to keep this in the back of your mind.

4. Fix Your Flashing

The area where your chimney pokes through your roof is particularly vulnerable to water penetration. That’s why that area is usually sealed with a combination of aluminum, called flashing, and a waterproof sealant.

Over time wear and tear and exposure to the elements often causes the flashing to rust, erode, or develop fractures. If your flashing is not looking as youthful as it once did, it’s a good idea to replace it. Make sure the roofing contractor you hire only uses 100% waterproof materials. The last thing you want is to hire someone to redo your flashing, only to run into the same problem a few months down the line.

5. Check On Your Mortar

Just like the spaces between your bones, the gaps between brick and mortar are called joints. Wind, rain, hail, snow…and any other kind of rough weather is not kind to your brick and mortar joints.

Old age and exposure to the elements lead to creaky brick and mortar joints that are vulnerable to water seepage. This can lead to even bigger problems when the water in your bricks freezes over and causes the bricks to degenerate.

Are you having chimney trouble? Contact us at Houston Roofing for a free estimate.