Addressing Winter Chimney Leaks
Winter in New York isn’t the best time to be doing any type of home maintenance. Fortunately, professional chimney services companies work year-round.
If you have a problem with a leaky chimney, arrange a visit from an experienced chimney technician, who will follow a logical path in addressing and solving the leak.
1. Where is the leak?
Obviously, the first step is determining where the leak originated. Most of the time, certain clues will point toward the area of damage.
For example, water in the firebox could be the result of a missing chimney cap or significant cracks in the masonry. Crumbling bricks and mortar are common starters of chimney leaks.
Concrete chimney crowns that are cracked can open a path for water to infiltrate the flue. Warped or missing chimney flashing around the base of the exterior chimney will bring water down into the home.
Once the area of the leak is determined, your chimney tech will want to know why it happened to prevent future problems.
2. What caused the chimney leak?
There are a variety of possible causes of damage to a chimney and its components that could lead to a leaky chimney. They include:
- Lightning strikes
- Severe hail storms
- Consistent freezing temperatures
- An improperly built chimney footing
- Inferior materials used to construct the chimney
- Gale-force winds
- Acidic creosote and combustion gases that eventually damage the inside of the chimney
- Plain old age
3. How much damage has been done?
The next thing your technician will assess is the extent of the damage. If you catch chimney leaks in their earliest stages, they often can be stopped before a serious problem occurs.
For more extensive damage, a chimney inspection is usually needed. Leaky chimneys can cause a lot of unseen damage that nobody in the home knows about until the issue is fairly widespread. This is why it’s recommended that you have your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year, whether or not you’re aware of damage or a leak.
4. Chimney leak repair
Repairing the leaky chimney is the final step. Minor leak damage within the chimney masonry often can be addressed with a strong water sealant. A process called tuckpointing keeps water out by replacing decayed sections of mortar with a fresh new compound.
Chimney technicians can replace cracked bricks, install secure full-width chimney caps, rebuild damaged concrete chimney crowns and repair/replace water-damaged chimney liners to fix these leaks.
It starts with an inspection
The best way to ensure that your chimney operates at its safest is to schedule a yearly inspection by a CSIA-certified chimney professional. This is also the best way to save big money by catching minor issues before they become major.
Additionally, if you use a wood-burning fireplace, you should arrange for a thorough chimney sweep (cleaning) at the time of the inspection.
Hudson Valley Chimney of Poughkeepsie, NY, will solve your chimney leak issues and help to keep your chimney and fireplace running safely and optimally. We provide CSIA-certified chimney sweeping, chimney repair and chimney inspections. Learn more about our services or schedule a visit by calling (845) 471-1071.