Chimney leak? “What do you mean? I don’t use my fireplace.” There are many homeowners that simply don’t use their fireplace. However, they do a great job of decorating all around it. Just because you don’t use the fireplace doesn’t mean that chimney leaks can’t form.
Here are 5 ways chimney leaks form even if you’ve never turned on your fireplace.
- Rain: Rain coming in right from the top! Chimneys without a chimney cap will get plenty of rain right directly into the chimney. A chimney cap fits snug around the opening of the chimney with includes a steel mesh to allow proper ventilation while eliminating animal entry and a solid piece of steel that extends over the mesh. This is to ensure the rain falls away from the opening. Every chimney needs a chimney cap for the same reasons every home needs a roof!
A chimney cap does more than just keep rain out of the flue. It also helps to keep birds, animals and debris out of the chimney as well. Some people wonder, “How can debris get into the chimney?” Debris isn’t just garbage, it’s also leaves, twigs, windblown items and animal nesting to name a few.
2. Cracks in the Chimney Crown: If you don’t use your fireplace or had the fireplace inspected, then the words chimney crown wouldn’t mean too much to you. However, it’s a vital component to the outside chimney structure. A chimney crown is the cement slab that is located on top of the chimney. The chimney crown or the concrete slab has a purpose. It keeps the rain out of the chimney structure.
Cracks in the chimney crown occur when the structure shifts due to expansion and contraction in the freeze thaw cycles of winter months. For whatever reason for the shifting, it affects the chimney crown. Hairline cracks or even larger cracks is the perfect entry for even the smallest amount of water. As soon as it identifies the weak spot in the chimney crown, in the water goes!
3. Chimney Liner: If you have a newer home, chances are you have a chimney liner. However, if you have an older home, the situation may change. Let’s start there and take a look if there’s something lining your chimney.
Even if you’ve never used the fireplace, the chimney is still being used by your heating appliances. Condensation develops which causes deterioration of the bricks and mortar. One of the quickest ways to notice condensation is if you have your chimney glass doors closed and you see condensation or water droplets on the glass, that needs to be taken care of ASAP.
4. Chimney Flashing: On June 12th, we talked about chimney flashing… what it is and when to repair it. Chimney flashing is what connects and protects the exterior of the chimney where the roofing system meets it. If the chimney flashing has come away from the home, it is exposed to water penetrating the inside of the home.
Chimney flashing looks like steps cut into the bricks, then sealed with caulk. But as weather has its own mind and way, these elements weaken bonds & seals causing leaks to occur.
5. Chimney bricks and mortar: Chimney bricks and mortar are pretty tough materials, but like any material over time outside in the weather elements, it begins to deteriorate. As it does the bricks and mortar form cracks. Water and snow have a way of quickly finding those small cracks and make their way in… Especially through the freeze and thaw cycles of our winter months
These 5 ways a chimney leak can from has nothing to do with you turning on your fireplace…or not. That’s way the CSIA, or the Chimney Safety Institute of America, encourages all fireplace owners to have it swept and checked each year. Keep your home, family and chimney safe by getting a sweep and inspection. Contact us at 877-244-6349 to have your chimney and fireplace checked today.