Water Damage and Your Chimney

While a faint dripping sound or a little dampness in the firebox after it rains might not seem like a big deal, these seemingly minor issues can cause major problems if left untreated. Because chimneys are constantly exposed to the elements, including rain, ice, and snow, they sometimes deteriorate at a higher rate than the masonry in the rest of a fireplace system. Fortunately, almost all water-related issues are entirely preventable through proper upkeep and maintenance of the chimney structure.

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How is the water getting in?

Although a chimney might seem like a straightforward structure, there are actually many different parts that work together to prevent water from entering the fireplace. Because of this, it is important to have any leaks evaluated by a professional who can determine the exact cause of the water entry. With the latest technology, including closed-circuit cameras, the experts at Lords Chimney can find and repair any leaks.

While chimney leaks may be caused by a number of different issues, below are some of the most common causes of water entry.

Masonry damage: Because both bricks and mortar are naturally porous, they absorb a certain amount of moisture. This absorption, combined with the expanding and contracting caused by changing temperatures, can lead to the accelerated deterioration of a masonry chimney. Left unrepaired, what started out as small cracks may progress to the point of bricks falling off and even damage to the chimney liner itself.

Chimney cap: Because they are not visible without being on the roof, chimney cap damage is often not found until an annual sweep or inspection is performed. In addition to keeping water out of the chimney and fireplace, chimney caps also prevent squirrels, birds, raccoons, and other animals from entering and nesting in the chimney.

Flashing: Flashing is the metal band that protects the gap where your roof and chimney meet. While it is meant to create a watertight seal, it can be damaged by nail holes, falling debris, and exposure to the elements.

How to prevent water damage

The best way to protect your home, chimney, and fireplace against water damage is to take the proactive steps to prevent it. One of the most beneficial and long-lasting repairs a homeowner can have done is to have a waterproofing solution applied to their masonry. These specially designed compounds are intended to still allow harmful gasses out without letting moisture in.

An annual chimney cleaning and inspection is another way to prevent small, easily-fixable problems from turning into costly repairs. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”

By spotting a problem early, it can be repaired before it causes major damage to the chimney structure or home. The expert technicians at Lords Chimney are highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals who have been trained to identify the source of a leak as well as to repair it. Call them today to schedule an appointment to discover the root cause of your leaky chimney or to ensure that water damage never happens.

3 Ways Negligence Ruins Your Chimney

Many serious problems can arise just because you fail give your chimney the care it requires. Don't neglect you chimney!

Many serious chimney-related problems arise due to negligence. Give your chimney the care it deserves.

A fireplace and chimney are creature comforts for many homeowners. Unfortunately, not every homeowner takes chimney maintenance as seriously as they should. Your chimney requires special care and attention to ensure it remains clear of debris and functions properly. Without an annual inspection, your fireplace and/or chimney can quickly become dangerous—even deadly.

Is a little creosote buildup really that bad?

In short, yes. According to the NFPA, the second leading cause of house fires is heating equipment; fireplaces, chimneys and wood stoves cause two-thirds of those house fires. Most of the afore-mentioned fires are the result of creosote. Sadly, most are preventable with regular inspections and maintenance.

If allowed to accumulate in large enough quantities, creosote can severely limit the flow of deadly combustion gases when you’re burning wood. One of these gases—carbon monoxide (CO)—is responsible for killing more than 200 people each year and sends more than 10,000 to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.

You can prevent your home and everyone in it from being included in these statistics by simply scheduling routine chimney inspections and sweepings to catch dangerous creosote before it has the opportunity to catch you.

So what if my bricks are spalling and the mortar is missing!

The main purpose of a chimney is to vent the products of combustion from your home. That function is crucial. A well-structured chimney and flue are designed to offer protection to your family and home from these deadly combustion byproducts.

It’s not uncommon for a masonry chimney to be in need of repair. If left uncorrected, a few minor issues can quickly become huge problems in no time at all. Broken or spalled bricks and deteriorated mortar joints are definite signs that your chimney may need repair, as they create several hazards—improper venting of combustion gases and potential structural collapse. Both hazards could prove to be fatal.

What harm is a little water going to do?

Failing to waterproof your chimney could lead to a multitude of problems. By waterproofing your chimney, you enable it to repel up to 99.9% of the water that would otherwise penetrate the brick and/or other materials. Waterproofing is a true preventative measure that can add years to your chimney’s life.

Because it’s not a requirement, many homeowners deprioritize it; this is a big mistake! There are many issues that can develop as a result of water being on and getting in to your chimney, and, as such, swift and immediate action should be taken to ensure that you’re not faced with unnecessary and avoidable repairs bills.

Unless you’re just looking for a reason to get rid of your chimney, there really is no excuse for neglecting it. It’s time to have an experienced technician evaluate the condition of your fireplace and chimney, get them repaired if necessary, and have your chimney coated with a waterproofing product. If you live in the greater Houston area and are looking for a pleasant service experience and the knowledge that your job was done correctly, give Lords Chimney a call at 281-497-4000, or click here to request an appointment online! We look forward to showing you a level of professionalism and quality that you haven’t seen in a service provider!