Chimney Leak Repair In Sacramento
Did you know that water causes more damage to masonry chimneys than any other single element that nature can throw at it? Dollar for dollar, more money is spent repairing water-damaged chimneys than any other type of repair we do at A to Z Chimney Services. That’s why we so encourage our customers to prevent water damage rather than repair it, but you can read more about that on our page about chimney waterproofing.
Water can enter a chimney or fireplace at numerous points—through faulty flashing, rusted dampers, cracked crowns, missing chimney cap, etc. Only a chimney professional can determine the culprit and fix it correctly the first time. If the damage is already being done, read on to hear why you should not put off having your leaking chimney repaired.
How Does Water Damage A Chimney?
Did you know that brick is a lot like a sponge? If you were to weigh a brick while dry, and then re-weigh it after immersing it in a bucket of water for a few hours, it will have almost doubled its weight because of all the water it’s absorbed. Bricks are very porous and readily become completely saturated with water.
Why is this a problem? Because once your chimney’s brickwork is completely saturated with water, several things can happen:
1. Water Leaks: Once your masonry chimney is fully saturated, rainwater often finds its way into your home. Leaks in the ceiling, walls, and onto the flooring near the chimney are common, and can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home. Dry rot, mold, drywall repair, and replacing flooring due to water damage do not come cheap.
2. Liner Damage: Water infiltration into the chimney’s chase often damages the terra cotta chimney liner by leeching out and eroding the mortar joints that glue the flue tiles together. Once these mortar joints are eroded, the open voids that result can allow carbon monoxide, creosote, and in some cases, open flames to escape your flue and cause a structural fire. A chimney with open voids in the flue tile mortar joints should not be used until it is repaired with HeatShield® or relined with a stainless steel liner.
3. Steel Dampers Rust: Your fireplace’s damper plays an important part in keeping the cold air out of and the warm air in your home. Water entry often rusts holes right through the damper, causing air leakages and severe energy loss. It can also cause the damper to rust solid so that it can no longer be opened or closed. When this happens, the old rusted damper must be removed or bypassed, and a new top-sealing damper will need to be installed.
4. Freeze/Thaw Damage: If your chimney’s brickwork is saturated with water and outdoor temperatures fall below freezing (usually overnight), your chimney will likely suffer freeze/thaw damage. Freeze/thaw is when the water within your chimney’s brickwork freezes and thaws, constricting and expanding. This slight expansion is enough to cause extensive damage to your chimney’s brickwork, from small cracks and fissures to large chunks of brick spalling (flaking off in large chunks).
5. Efflorescence: Once absorbed into your chimney’s brickwork, water will dissolve tiny minerals and salts that make up the structure of your chimney’s masonry. As weather conditions warm up and dry out, the water within your chimney’s bricks will migrate to the outside surface of your chimney and evaporate, leaving behind white salt and mineral stains. These ugly stains are called efflorescence. Efflorescence is not only unsightly, but is also an indicator that water is eroding and weakening your chimney’s masonry structure each time it rains. Left unchecked, the mortar (the glue) that holds your chimney’s bricks together will turn sandy and fail. Sometimes this damage is so severe that the entire chimney must be torn down and rebuilt from scratch.
Do you live in or around Sacramento and have a chimney or fireplace that needs immediate attention due to water damage? Call us or fill out our online form to schedule your appointment today!
Because you can’t see all the way up the chimney with just your eyes, you may not know whether your chimney needs relining. A thorough inspection by our expert fireplace and chimney services technicians can let you know what needs to be done (if anything) to keep you and your family safe.
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We would definitely recommend your fireplace/dryer duct cleaning, sunscreens and retractable screen doors to everyone. You’ve done a great job for us -- on both of the homes we’ve owned. Thanks!
~ The Hansens, Fair Oaks, CA
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