Your chimney and fireplace are designed to withstand the test of time if properly maintained and looked after. One of the most notorious variables in determining your chimney and fireplace’s longevity is its level of moisture resistance. A leaky chimney with poor moisture resistance can mean costly repairs to your chimney and your home, time without your fire, and even the need for a complete rebuild!

leaky chimney

The results of a leaky chimney

Whether you have a Pre-Fab or Masonry unit, your chimney is constructed of many materials, all of which are adversely affected by moisture. This means that if water penetrates your chimney’s exterior, it can destroy it from the inside out. A leaky chimney can result in:

  • Rusted chimney and fireplace components, including the damper, chimney flue, utility flue, and gas line/valves, can pose significant hazards as they may weaken over time due to corrosion, potentially leading to gas leaks, smoke backdrafts, or even chimney fires.
  • Deteriorated metal or masonry firebox assemblies can undermine the structural integrity of the fireplace, increasing the risk of collapse or heat transfer to nearby combustible materials.
  • Rotting internal or nearby wood framing around the chimney can exacerbate these issues by providing fuel for potential fires or causing structural instability.
  • Water stained walls and ceilings are often indicative of chimney leaks, which can lead to further damage such as decayed mortar, stained chimney exteriors, and compromised stability. Oh, and they’re ugly, too!
  • A cracked or deteriorated flue lining system is particularly hazardous as it can allow toxic gases like carbon monoxide to seep into living spaces, posing severe health risks.
  • A collapsed hearth support, tilted, or collapsed chimney structure signifies advanced structural deterioration, necessitating immediate attention to prevent catastrophic failure and ensure the safety of occupants and property.

A leaky chimney, if not repaired in a timely fashion, can cause immense damage to other areas of your home as well. Beyond the costly repairs that a leaky chimney can create, it can also create breathing/respiratory issues for family members; both with and without a history of respiratory problems. Once the moisture has made its way in, and warmer months set in, your home is now susceptible to mold, mildew, and other unwanted growth.

How to detect a leaky chimney

Listen for the sounds of running or dripping water near your fireplace and chimney during heavier rains. Conduct your own visual inspection around the exterior of your chimney, from the ground, and take note if you notice any sort of discoloration or growth. Do you see water stains or discolored brick? Does the mortar have color inconsistencies or is missing in spots? Take a look at the metal components in or near your chimney. Do you see rust? Do they seem stable? Also, try your damper – if it doesn’t close smoothly, it may be rusting from water leaks.

If you have a concrete chimney cap, does it appear to be solid and crack-free? Does the concrete have water stains? If your chimney cap is metal, look for rust along the bottom edge where it contacts the other materials.

If you hear or see evidence of water intrusion, call our office today so we can schedule your chimney and fireplace inspection!

What Southern Chimneys Will Do If You Have a Leaky Chimney

Southern Chimneys will come out and conduct a full, 18-point inspection on your entire fireplace and chimney system. We will trace the water intrusion and we will get the issue resolved! We work alongside a team of skilled roofers and siding contractors, so in the chance that your water intrusion isn’t directly linked to the chimney, we will get you in contact with one of our partners!