A leaky chimney is more than just an inconvenience—if not properly resolved, it can snowball into severe issues for your home. These problems peak during the autumn months, when rainstorms and colder weather roll through. Continue reading to discover:
Fall brings a variety of environmental factors that can cause your chimney to leak, with some of the most common being:
Chimneys are constructed from brick and mortar, which can be severely affected by water saturation. During the colder months, moisture within your masonry materials can freeze, placing stress on your chimney, causing it to crack. These cracks degrade the structural integrity of your chimney, increasing the risk of chimney leaks when it rains.
Autumn brings its fair share of rainstorms, which can damage or dislodge your chimney cap—allowing rain to leak inside the flue and fireplace. Leaky chimney caps can also damage the interior masonry, chimney liner, and firebox while causing the damper to corrode and lose its airtight seal.
If you’ve experienced any of these environmental issues, keep your eye out for a few indicators your chimney is leaking.
Correctly identifying the signs of chimney leakage helps you resolve the issue before it’s too late. Stay on the lookout for common indications of water damage this fall:
The first sign of a leaky chimney is seen in the color of your structure. When most homeowners see black spots on their chimney, they assume it’s just soot. However, during the fall months, it’s often something much worse—mold.
Autumn’s frequent rain and cool temperatures make a perfect breeding ground for mold on your chimney. If your structure is already leaking, the stagnant water will soon turn into visible black mold.
If you notice pieces of mortar on the ground, that’s another indicator you may have a leaky chimney. During the freezing and thawing process, the cracks eventually degrade your structure, causing pieces of brick and mortar to begin falling off.
Another tell-tale sign your chimney is leaking is condensation lining the walls of your fireplace. The severity of this condensation varies, so to find out how severe the leak is, place the back of your hand on the damp area and compare that to the drier parts. By evaluating the degree of condensation, you can determine where the leak is coming from—and how serious it is.
Stagnant water in your chimney can eventually lead to unwelcome odors, as the water mixes with creosote buildup from previous fires. If your chimney smells musty, this is a solid indicator your chimney is leaking.
If you hear dripping water coming down in your fireplace during rainstorms, you can assume some aspect of your internal chimney structure is damaged. Dripping water can be due to cracked bricks, broken caps, or gutter issues—but regardless of the cause, it’s imperative to stop your chimney from leaking before your house takes on water damage.
If you’ve noticed any of the above signs, don’t fret. You can take a few precautions to reduce the damage from leaky chimneys.
If your chimney is crumbling, it might be time to invest in a professional tuckpointing service. Tuckpointing refers to the process of filling damaged masonry with new mortar, sealing gaps in your chimney’s structure, and keeping water from entering your home
Because masonry materials are naturally porous, waterproofing your chimney helps reduce the chances of your masonry becoming waterlogged this fall. Reach out to your local chimney provider, as they frequently offer waterproofing services to fill weak points and seal cracked materials.
A cricket directs rainwater away from your chimney, reducing the chances of water trickling into your home through damaged flashing or cracked masonry. Most chimney providers offer cricket installation services, which are a quick and easy way to invest in the longevity of your chimney.
Arguably, the most important step to stopping a leaky chimney is scheduling a professional inspection. A professional can assess the status of your chimney to see where it’s falling short. From there, they’ll be able to recommend the best maintenance paths to take. During the fall months, sealing procedures are one of the most common solutions, as they help mediate cracks in your structure while waterproofing your chimney from future weather issues.
Approved Home Improvements offers free chimney inspections for homeowners throughout the St. Louis Metro area. Our expert technicians assess your chimney’s status, enabling you to stay ahead of issues before the fall weather takes its toll.
Avoid Chimney issues this autumn with the help of AHI—schedule your free inspection today.