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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.

Ways to Extend the Life of your Chimney

After years of constant usage of your chimney and fireplace, there will come a time where damages, cracks and leaks will gradually start happening. That’s why it’s best to always have us on your priority numbers’ list so that one of our CSIA-licensed experts can help you install, repair and replace any part that needs immediate attention. Here at Mountain Man, we want to make your chimney last as long as possible. Here are some tips on how to extend the life of your chimney.

The Flue and the Flue LinerThe life of a Chimney

One of the most important parts of the chimney is the flue together with the flue liner. It functions to make sure that the smoke from the open combustion in the fireplace is properly led out of the home. It also helps increase draft efficiency and will allow proper flow of air and smoke. However, when there are cracks, there might be a need to reline the flue. In worst cases, the entire flue needs to be replaced. Paying close attention to the flue and flue liner will definitely prolong the life of the chimney.

Waterproofing your Chimney

Water is one of the biggest enemies of chimneys; it can destroy it over time as water seeps into the mortar brick walls. Waterproofing your chimney by applying a waterproof sealant to the brick walls will definitely prevent water from entering thus adding more years to your chimney. Install a good chimney cap and chimney flashing too and you’re all set for any kind of weather. Having a chimney cap is a good thing because it also prevents obstructions like:

• Debris
• Small animals
• Birds and nests
• Spider webs
• Fallen leaves

These are only two of the courses of action you can take to make your chimney last longer. There are indeed many ways to extend the life of your chimney, but like everything else; it always comes with a price. Nonetheless, we will make sure that our services and our customer service are always worth both your time and money.

Common Chimney Repairs

Getting Started

The one thing you hear the most in the chimney world is to make sure you keep up with your annual maintenance.  This maintenance consists of an inspection and sweep every year.  When researching for a technician, make sure that they are credible.  You can find out a lot about the people working in your neighborhood through word of mouth of family and friends, or also checking internet websites where customers can leave reviews after the service has been completed.

Over time, water will wear down the defenses of your chimney. Common waterproofing repairs include restoring flashing and replacing chimney caps.

Over time, water will wear down the defenses of your chimney. Common waterproofing repairs include restoring flashing and replacing chimney caps.

Anyone you have perform a chimney sweep should be certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, (CSIA) a non-profit organization that serves as a great place of information for homeowners.  Having this maintenance done can prevent you from having many other problems arise in the long run, so make sure it is done on time and not just when you think it’s needed.  To schedule your appointment call the professionals at Mountain Man Chimney Fireplace & Chimney.

Biggest Threats

There are many things in a chimney that can malfunction, and can potentially cause big problems even though they seem small in the beginning.  First, water can enter your home and cause mold to form.  This is extremely common in areas that have high precipitation levels.  Water can enter when the flashing on a chimney becomes loose, cracked, or missing.  Sometimes caulk can be used to fix the gaps, but sometimes it will need replacing.

Bricks can become cracked which can also be a place for water to collect.  When this happens, call an experienced sweep that can come repair the unit properly.  They will be able to judge the size of the crack and what needs to be used to fix it.  The chimney crown serves as a roof to the unit, so that must also be repaired if cracked.  Lastly, installing a chimney cap will not only help keep water out, but animals as well.

After a chimney has been repaired, toss a little water on it to make sure that it was done properly and no water is still allowed to enter.  If the surface turns a dark color and absorbs into the chimney, you may still be in danger of water damage.

Taking Care of Business

To take care of this, you should have your chimney waterproofed.  There are special chemicals that form a sealant when applied that will repel the water as it hits the structure.  It is important to have a breathable substance so that vapors are not trapped inside of the chimney.  You always want to make sure that the chimney is cleaned before applying the repellent.

What is the Risk?

When these repairs go unattended they can become much worse.  If a crack becomes larger more water can collect inside of it.  This will lead to more mold, which can spread into the foundation of your home and also the air you and your family breathe.  Also, if you do not have your sweep in a timely fashion you can become susceptible to chimney fires and draft problems that could eventually lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or become a threat to the structural integrity of your home.

We recommend an annual chimney cleaning and inspection, so that we can identify and eliminate problems early on. Waiting is more dangerous and much more expensive. Call today!