Ask any chimney builder, fireplace retailer or chimney sweep, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: chimneys and water don’t mix. Water from rain and melting snow may seem harmless, but it actually can be very destructive, especially if early damage isn’t detected and repaired.
In addition to causing erosion in various areas of the chimney/fireplace system, chimney leaks can lead to serious problems within the home itself. Here are some of the ways a leaky chimney can damage your home.
Bricks are porous and absorb water. When the water freezes and expands, small cracks appear. These cracks allow in more water, and pretty soon the chimney masonry is compromised. Once deterioration has begun, it will continue to the point the chimney may start to lean to one side. In the most severe cases, the chimney can collapse entirely.
Signs of chimney damage by a leak:
- Damp firebox walls
- Water, pieces of flue tiles and pieces of brick on the firebox floor
- A rusted damper
- Discoloration of interior and exterior chimney bricks
Your roof was built to keep water out. But the space where the chimney intersects with the roof can only be protected with flashing. When flashing is damaged, water can come in and weaken the wooden attic supports and begin rotting the roof. If undetected, sections of the roof may eventually collapse.
The home’s building materials
Any part of the home adjacent to a chimney down which water is running can sustain damage. Wall boards can rot and warp, framing can deteriorate and ceilings can become unstable. A serious influx of water can come into contact with electrical connections, depending on where they’re located, and cause the home to be unsafe to live in.
Mold needs three things to grow and spread: dampness, lack of light and lack of air circulation. Chimney leaks are notorious for causing mold to grow in areas homeowners aren’t able to see. But just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. Mold is known to cause significant health problems in children, older adults and anyone with a respiratory disorder. Most medical experts believe mold is dangerous to all humans and animals.
What to do if your chimney is leaking
If you know or suspect that your chimney is leaking, your smartest move is to call a professional chimney sweep and schedule a thorough inspection. In many cases chimney leaks aren’t easy for an untrained individual to spot – and even harder to repair. Certified chimney sweeps have the equipment and training to find leaks and recommend the right course of action to solve the problem.
Chimney Solutions of Indianapolis serves homeowners in our region with the very best in chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, chimney repair and chimney rebuilding services. We recommend annual chimney inspections in order to detect the first signs of compromise to the chimney system. This way we can perform basic repairs to restore your chimney to a state of safety and efficiency.
Call the chimney leak experts today at (317) 757-6979.