Chimney Leakage? Learn the Causes and What to Do About Them

Leaks from your chimney can potentially lead to bigger problems down the road. Learn how to spot leaks early and avoid more costly repairs.

What goes into the cost of tuckpointing Tuckpointing Cost | Alexander and Xavier MasonryEspecially during the winter season, chimneys, along with your home fireplace, help keep your home cozy and warm. But if your chimney starts leaking, it can lead to big problems.

What starts as a small leak can lead to major water damage in your home and expensive repairs. And since a chimney and chimney flue help keep fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide where they should be, any damage to it should be taken seriously and fixed as soon as possible.

So whether it’s the middle of winter or summer, what should you look for to catch leakage from your chimney before it becomes a bigger problem?

Let’s start by looking at few things that can make your chimney leak. 

4 Common Things That Cause Chimney Leaks

Many things can cause chimney leaks, but let us look at four common causes.

1. Poorly fixed chimney cap (or no cap at all)

A chimney cap is usually concrete, stone, or metal and sits at the top of the chimney opening. It prevents the entry of rainwater and other forms of precipitation. Some even have a wire mesh to prevent birds (or other small critters) from being able to get into the chimney.

A poorly fixed cap or no cap at all can allow water into the chimney, especially during hard rainstorms.

2. Damaged Chimney Crown

The crown plays a big role in protecting your chimney. It's usually a layer of mortar that's on top of the last course of bricks. It holds the top of your chimney together and keeps water from getting in between the flue pipe and the brickwork.

Many chimney crowns are not properly installed or sealed. Over time this can cause the crown to crack and start to let water in. In places that have a lot of freeze/thaw cycles, this is especially dangerous. Even small amounts of water can lead to brick flaking and mortar deterioration.

3. Damaged or improperly installed chimney flashing

Chimney flashing is a waterproof material, usually folded metal, that is placed where the chimney meets the roof. Flashing works to direct water away from the chimney and down the roof. If the chimney flashing is not properly installed or sealed, you might get chimney leaks. Old, worn-out flashing, or flashing that has pulled away from the chimney because of movements in the home's structure is also likely to cause leaks.

4. Damage caused to the masonry structure of the chimney

This refers to damage to the brickwork itself. This is often caused by moisture that has gotten into the brick from a cracked crown or other cracks in the mortar joints.

Then as the water freezes and thaws, it causes more cracks, which let in more moisture... you get the picture.

If you're in the Garland, Texas area and are facing a leaking chimney or another issue with your home's masonry, give us a call at Alexander and Masonry today. All it takes is one call to schedule your free consultation.

How to Find Leaks in Chimneys

Finding chimney leaks can be a real challenge, but here are some things to look for.

1. Water or condensation inside the fireplace

If you notice moisture or condensation inside the fireplace, it's obvious you have a leaky chimney.

2. Sound of dripping water in the chimney

When it rains or snows and you hear water dripping in your chimney, you have a chimney leak. It's best to quickly look to see where the leak is and repair it. This often happens if you don't have a chimney cap on top of the flue. If you have a cap on your chimney and rain still gets in, a damaged crown is probably the culprit.

3. Water damage stains on walls or ceilings around the chimney

This is another telltale sign that you have a leaky chimney problem. Once you notice water stains from around your chimney in the attic, you need to immediately investigate the area to locate the leaks.

4. Musty odors, especially after it rains

The moisture in damp places causes a musty smell. Indoors are supposed to be warm and dry. Even a slow leak over time can cause mold growth and a musty smell.

5. Cracked masonry

If you can see small cracks in the mortar joints or brick flaking on the outside of your chimney, there's a good chance moisture is getting in somewhere. If if it hasn't made its way into your home yet, if the cracked masonry isn't fixed, it'll get there eventually.

What to Do If Your Chimney Is Leaking

Like all other problems, the first step is to fix a leaky chimney is to find the source of the leaks. If you’re comfortable on a roof and have the equipment to inspect your chimney safely, it’s worth it to get a closer look. 

Inspect the cap and crown for damage. Is the flashing in good shape and properly sealed? Are there any bricks or mortar joints that are damaged? Do you notice any visible openings that could be the source of the leak?

How to Prevent Chimney Leaks

Common Things that Make Your Chimney Leak | Alexander and Xavier MasonryYou may want to inspect your chimney regularly so you can catch problems early on. A well-maintained chimney will seldom have major issues. 

The best way to prevent leaks is to get your chimney installed right the first time. Many people opt for cheap solutions, and they suffer in the long run. A chimney project isn’t as simple as it seems and is very important to install correctly.

And while some maintenance can be done by the homeowner, for any project that involves working on the crown, flashing, or structure of the chimney, it’s best to call a professional mason. You’ll save yourself the headache of water damage to your home and more costly repairs in the future.

If you’re in the Garland, Texas area, give us a call at Alexander and Xavier Masonry. All it takes is one quick call to schedule your FREE consultation.

FAQs

1. What is the cost of repairing a leaking chimney?

Chimney repair can cost anywhere from a few dollars (if you’re a DIYer) to as high as several thousand if a complete rebuild is required. And if the chimney leaking has caused water damage inside your home, it could be even more. 

2. Are chimney leaks covered by homeowners insurance?

If the leak happens suddenly (especially due to circumstances like rain), your basic policy may often cover it. The case might be different if it’s due to the slow deterioration of mortar over time or because of negligence. The best thing is to call your insurance provider.

Shopping Basket
Top Rated Badge Official |Alexander and Xavier Masonry