The US experiences more severe weather in the spring than at any other time of the year. This means your chimney is being pounded with rain, high winds and occasionally lightning strikes; all of which could lead to damage and a potential leak or two. While you can’t prevent the weather form occurring, there are things you can check periodically to help avoid leaks getting into the home through the chimney.
Please note: These will require you getting on the roof and actually looking at the chimney and flashing. If you are uncomfortable getting on the roof of your home you may want to consider hiring a chimney company to perform the following.
1. Do you see cracks or missing mortar in the joints of the brick on the chimney?
Unfortunately, mortar will not last forever and can erode quicker if it is not the right consistency when used or is in an area that receives the bulk of wind and rain every year. This means you will need to take a look at the chimney to see that the mortar is still in place as well as any damage to the brick. Since water can run down rafters to other areas of a home, you may actually have a chimney leak that shows up somewhere else so it’s always a good idea to start here if a leak appears.
There is a method called tuckpointing that can be used to repair the mortar joints and sealants available that create a barrier between water and the joints if the damage is light. Of course, if you have missing chunks of brick and gaping holes in the mortar you might want to call out a professional chimney technician as your chimney might require and partial or complete rebuild.
2. Check the chimney cap.
If you don’t have a chimney cap then you will need to get one. Without one, water can easily get into firebox and drip down the walls of the flue liner at will causing your fireplace to drip and sometimes pool water. Damage to an existing chimney cap can also be a water issue and may need to be repaired or replaced if the damage is beyond repair. If you need to replace a cap get one that is rust resistant like a stainless chimney cap. Rusting caps are always a problem and will eventually breakdown and need to be replaced. If you get the right one the first time you should not have to deal with this issue again.
3. Check the flashing around the base of the chimney.
If the flashing is rusted out or pulling away from the chimney, water can get in and cause problems. You will want to inspect the areas around the base of the chimney (where the roof and chimney meet) to make sure the flashing is in good working order. If it is either rusted or pulling away and creating a gap at the top of the flashing it will need to be replaced. Wind can easily damage and tear loose flashing away from the chimney and is a common problem that can cause leaks into your home.
If you see anything that you feel is something you cannot fix, please call a chimney services company and get your chimney fixed and the leak stopped.