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Don’t Wait to Fix Chimney Leaks

Ahh, springtime! The snow is melting, the trees are budding, the flowers are blooming, you’re stuck at home; and your chimney is leaking. Have you been spending more time at home and heard a persistent, unfound dripping? After a Colorado winter, with months of snow and ice sitting against your chimney, spring is when we notice the new leaks. Call your local fireplace and chimney experts to fix it.

Our Chimney Safety Institute of America Certified technicians will perform a thorough leaky chimney inspection to determine where the water is coming in, and how to stop it. We are an essential business and are still open to make sure your family is safe and warm. If you suspect your chimney of allowing water into your home, don’t wait, call us today. We can solve your chimney problems!

Exposure to the Elements Causes Chimney Leaks

Most people are unfamiliar with the parts to a chimney system that can allow water in. The weak points of a chimney vary depending on whether it’s a masonry or factory-built chimney. Most parts of the chimney degrade with time, UV rays from sunlight, hail damage, and the repeated freezing and thawing of a Colorado spring. There are usually several suspected weak points when there are signs of water intrusion. This fact makes identifying exactly where the water is coming from a challenge. Often, the location of apparent water damage does not reveal the actual location of the source of the leak.

Weathering in masonry joints and bricks is a common source of chimney leaks in Colorado.
Weathering in masonry joints and bricks is a common source of chimney leaks in Colorado.

Why do masonry chimneys leak?

If you have a masonry chimney you may believe that it will last forever, but that is simply not true. Masonry chimneys are susceptible to degradation and chimney leaks just like any other material. This degradation happens faster than most people expect with the unpredictable winter and spring weather in Colorado. We see damage to masonry chimneys from rain and hail; however, the freeze/thaw cycle is most destructive, that is why it’s so important to keep water flowing off and away from your chimney.

Masonry chimneys are made of flue tiles which are supported by cinder blocks and stone or bricks. They also have a concrete crown at the top. The concrete crown is designed to be the “lid” to your masonry chimney, it keeps water out and sheds the water away from the sides of the chimney. Concrete crowns should have 2-inch overhang with a drip edge which prevents water from running down and eroding the mortar joints between the stones or bricks. If you’re missing a 4-5” thick concrete slab with an overhang and drip edge atop the masonry, that’s a strong indicator of water intrusion problems. We can pour a new concrete crown for your chimney or apply Crown Coat to seal any cracks you may have in your chimney crown.

When your crown isn’t deflecting water away from the sides of your chimney, water seeps through your mortar joints. This problem becomes even larger when the moisture freezes and expands. Freezing water expansion exerts tremendous pressure on surrounding masonry materials, creating cracks which then allow more water in. As this cycle continues, the damage compounds with each freeze and thaw. Eventually there may be no mortar left at all, allowing rain or snow melt directly into your home. Our chimney experts can repair water damage to masonry and mortar, keeping your chimney leak free and maintaining the integrity of your home.

What causes factory-built chimneys to leak?

If you don’t have a masonry chimney, you’re still at risk of chimney leaks. If you have a framed wooden box, called a “chase” enclosing your venting, those materials can also wear out and allow water into your home. The top of a chase system must have a proper cover, chimney cap, and storm collar. The weakest point of the chase is the sheet metal chase cover.

Chase covers are more susceptible to rain and hail damage than masonry chimneys. Over time, dents form and the cover sags on top, collecting water and rusting through. A new chase cover is sloped from the center with drip edges designed to shed water away from chase. If water runs down the sides of your chase, it can enter through gaps in the façade on your chase. Chases are also flashed to the roof line, that can be another area water sneaks its way into your home.

A CSIA-Certified chimney sweep from Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney inspects a chimney for leaks.
If your factory built chimney or the chase around it is leaking, you should seek the help a CSIA-Certified professional like the technicians at Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney.

What do I do about chimney leaks?

Whether your chimney is masonry or you have a chase and factory-built chimney, a proper chimney cap is your first line of defense against a leaky chimney. If you look up at your chimney and there isn’t a cap, call us right away! The structure around your flue may be tight but if you’re missing your cap or you have a damaged or improperly sized cap, it allows water straight into the home. Water intrusion from a chimney leak due to a missing cap can damage both masonry and factory-built chimneys. This damage has repercussions that affect not just your fireplace and chimney system but other parts of your home as well.

Our leaky chimney inspection evaluates your entire chimney or chase. If you don’t address damage from a chimney leak quickly, it only gets worse. That’s why it’s crucial that any leaks are located and repaired immediately. If you notice any suspicious water stains, or hear dripping and can’t find the source, protect your home and your investment, call us right away!

Call us if your chimney is leaking!

Our technicians are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute. They have the experience to take on your leaky chimney problems and any other fireplace or chimney needs you have. We also have industry specific techniques, such as special flashing for sealing the uneven edge where masonry chimneys meet the roof line. Put our 22 years of experience working on chimneys in the foothills to work for you!

If the one thing about spring that you are not enjoying is a mysterious water leak, we can help! We can also take on your other fireplace and chimney needs from sales and installation to annual service and repairs. As a business that is essential to your home and family’s safety, we’re open for business and booking appointments. Give us a call today at (303) 679-1601. You can also reach us at Office@MtnHP.com.

Originally posted on MtnHP.com, our sister site.

What Do Chase Covers Do?

Prefabricated fireplaces have become a popular alternative to full masonry fireplaces. They are often less expensive to install, allowing more and more homeowners to enjoy the beauty and comfort of having a fireplace in their home. However, it is important that prefabricated fireplaces receive regular maintenance and upkeep in order to continue burning safely and efficiently. One important component of the prefabricated fireplace is the chimney chase cover.

What do chase covers do-Evergreen, CO-Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney, Inc -w800-h800
What is a chase cover?

The flue of prefabricated fireplaces need to be covered and protected; while masonry chimneys have bricks and mortar built around their flues, prefabricated fireplaces have chimney chases. The chase is built around the flue of the prefabricated fireplace – often using the same siding or materials as the rest of the home’s exterior – to protect the flue as well as create a more aesthetically pleasing look for the chimney.

At the top of the chase is the chase cover. The chimney chase cover is typically made of metal such as aluminum, copper, or stainless steel. Chase covers are designed to extend over the sides of the chimney structure; this allows water from rain, ice, and snow to drain onto the roof and safely away from the sides of the chimney.

What does a chase cover do?

The purpose of a chimney chase cover is to protect the top of the chimney, especially from leaks and other forms of water damage. Because the chase cover seals and protects the top of the flue, any damage or deterioration can lead to problems such as animal entry or leaks. Water entry can be particularly damaging; a leaky chase can cause damage to not only fireplace components, but also the walls and ceilings of your home. Likewise, long term exposure to moisture – coupled with dark and often cool environments – can encourage mold and mildew growth; this can create extremely unpleasant odors in the chimney as well as affect your home’s air supply.

Is my chase cover damaged?

Because chase covers are not at eye level, it can be hard to tell how they are holding up. One of the most common signs that your chase cover may be experiencing a problem is discoloration or rust on the sides of the chimney chase. While more expensive materials such as copper or stainless steel may not rust, less expensive chimney chase covers made of galvanized metals like aluminum – which often come standard on most prefabricated fireplaces – are more likely to experience issues. Red, orange, or brown staining on the side of the chimney chase is therefore often one of the signs of chase cover deterioration; when rusting or staining occurs, there is a chance your chase cover may already be leaking.

While it is easy to overlook, your chimney chase cover has an extremely important role in keeping your fireplace burning safely and efficiently. If you live around Lakewood, Denver, or the surrounding area, and want more information on how to maintain your chase cover through preventative maintenance, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today!

By Jake Johnson on March 29th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment