April showers might bring May flowers, but they also bring something else: leaky chimneys. Your chimney takes a lot of abuse during the cold, fire-burning months, but melting snow and heavy rains each spring can bring an onslaught of chimney leaks. As the weather warms and rainy weather strikes, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of chimney leaks, as unchecked leaks can lead to major chimney damage and costly repairs.
Looking for signs of spring leaks
If you keep your eyes open, you should be able to spot early signs of chimney leaks before they become a major problem. There are some very obvious signs that water is gaining access to your chimney, such as water pooling in the bottom of your firebox, or a musty smell coming from your chimney on warm days. If a water leak has been developing for a while, you might notice rusting fireplace components, such as dampers, grates or fireplace doors. On the wall or ceiling surrounding your chimney, you might notice discolored or sagging wallboard or staining on wall coverings. On the outside of your chimney, you might notice white stains developing on the masonry, a sure sign that water has been seeping into your chimney’s bricks.
Identifying the cause of chimney leaks
If you notice some of the above signs of water damage, there are several things that could be allowing water to damage your chimney and fireplace. A missing, damaged or displaced chimney cap can allow water to run down the inner walls of your chimney, causing damage along the way. A cracked, poorly constructed or damaged chimney crown can fail to divert water away from your chimney. The metal flashing at the base of your chimney, which is meant to prevent water from penetrating your roofline where the chimney meets the shingles, can develop holes or cracks over time and allow water to access your home’s structure. If you have a masonry chimney, the bricks and mortar of the chimney’s structure could be letting water in, as masonry is extremely porous and can soak up moisture like a sponge.
Addressing chimney leaks
If you notice signs of chimney leaks, or damage to chimney components — like the cap, crown or flashing — that could lead to leaks, it is important to address them immediately. Neglected chimney leaks can lead to major problems with your chimney, including cracked masonry, rusting metal fireplace components, a failing chimney structure or rotting supports in your home’s walls or roof.
The best way to ensure that your chimney isn’t leaking this spring is by scheduling your annual chimney inspection. Spring is the perfect time for your annual sweeping and inspection, as your chimney technician will examine your chimney cap, chimney crown and flashing for signs of weakness and check your chimney’s masonry and your fireplace for signs of water leaks or water damage. Make sure your chimney won’t suffer the effects of spring water leaks: Call Fluesbrothers to schedule an appointment today!