Chimney leaks are a common problem that can often be avoided with proper maintenance and upkeep. By making sure to take care of issues before an actual leak starts you will protect your home from potential cost damage. There are several ways that a chimney can become susceptible to chimney leaks.
Check The Flashing
Every spring you should check the flashing around your chimney. Any flashing that is loose, missing, or damaged needs to be replaced. Small seams or cracks should be caulked. If there is more extensive damage you may need to replace the flashing altogether. Make sure that the correct type of flashing is installed if you have your roof replaced.
Inspect Bricks and Mortar Joints
Check for bricks and mortar that have become loose, chipped or cracked. If there is a large amount of damage such as loose bricks or large areas of missing mortar you will probably need to call a professional to make the proper repairs. Smaller cracks can be sealed with crack filler.
Check The Water Seal
After you make your repairs or have someone do the repairs for you, use a hose or bucket to wet the chimney. If areas are quickly turn dark and the water is quickly absorbed you may be vulnerable to further water damage. To avoid this, water proof your chimney with a water repellent that is designed to avoid masonry chimney leaks.
Check Your Crown
The piece that is placed at the top of your chimney around the flue is referred to as the crown. Consider it the roof of your chimney. If it has loose or broken pieces you may need to consult a profession about its replacement to avoid having chimney leaks. If your crown is cracked but still solid you can often repair it before the problem turns into a larger issue.
Check The Interior
Look down the inside of your chimney flue using a bright light. You are looking for obstacles and soot or creosote builup. While you can check for obvious problems it is a good idea to have a professional check and clean your chimney every year. There are issues that a professional could spot that you might miss.
Install A Flue Cap
These caps are designed to protect the opening in your flue. Properly installed they can help prevent water, debris or animals from causing chimney leaks. While they can cause problems with your updraft if they are improperly installed or maintained, a cap can help protect your chimney and ensure a longer life.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends having an annual evaluation done on your chimney. An unsafe chimney can cause serious injury or even death along with an estimated $ 200 million in annual property damage.
By having your chimney checked every year you can avoid the problem of chimney leaks. Having a professional chimney sweep check your chimney every year will catch problems while they are still small. Any small problem will only increase in magnitude if left unattended and could end up requiring expensive repairs.