The big problem with chimney water damage and leaks is that many of the signs and symptoms of a leak go unnoticed. Homeowners assume many things are due to “wear and tear” or time and use. In actuality, any change in the way your chimney system looks or works indicates a problem.
The white powdery substance or stain on the outside of a masonry chimney is called efflorescence. This indicates a water leak because the white substance is leftover minerals from water passing through the masonry. This is a common occurrence on unprotected chimneys in areas where there are a lot of salts in the air such as coastal regions.
Unlike efflorescence which is white, rust can leave red and dark staining on the chimney exterior. This usually happens at the top of the chimney beneath the flue cap and crown and means one or the other is damaged and allowing water into the system.
Usually, these dark stains occur inside of the firebox and can be confused with carbon stains. Dark water stains are usually accompanied by odors of mildew and mold, and upon close inspection may have visible mold spores. This type of stain means that water has been dripping inside the chimney system.
Whether you can see it or not, you may hear dripping in your chimney system. This water is not always visible from the fireplace opening. The water may be collecting on the smoke shelf or on some carbon or creosote deposit in the system. No matter where it falls, water is damaging something.
This common sign of a chimney leak is actually a sign of damage caused by a leak. Spalling masonry is cracked, crumbling, and falling mortar and bricks which allows water to move through the masonry and into the system. It is a common occurrence in the winter when the chimney isn’t properly protected against water damage.
Any odor from the chimney indicates a problem, but chimney odors that smell like dirty laundry, mildew, or mold is a sign that a leak is occurring in the system—and that it’s been leaking long enough for mold to grow! Mold in the chimney system can lead to stains, odors, the spread of mold outside of the chimney, and even respiratory problems for family and guests.
Water Damage and Prevention
The chimney may be the way water enters your house, but once it is allowed inside it moves to all parts of the house, causing damage everywhere it goes. When water enters the chimney, it can move through walls, floors, and ceilings until it reaches the lowest point where it pools and forms a leak. Many homeowners assume a leak in a living room or bedroom is caused by a plumbing or roof problem and call a general contractor. A general contractor may be able to fix the damage, but they won’t be able to repair the chimney and correct the leak.
If you experience a leak in your home and you have a chimney system, your first call should be a chimney professional. Only a certified chimney sweep has the expertise, training, and proper tools to diagnose a chimney leak, repair water damage and correct the problem at its source. Scheduling routine maintenance with a professional can actually prevent all the damage that is caused by a chimney leak.
Sacramento’s Chimney Repair and Prevention
Home and business owners in Sacramento and the surrounding area depend on A to Z Chimneys for chimney leak prevention and repair. We know where to look to find the source of your leak, we know how to repair the damage without costing you a fortune (or compromising quality), and we can prevent recurrence with routine maintenance as well as waterproofing services.
A to Z Chimneys diagnoses and repairs the leak itself, checking the flashing, cap, crown, and masonry. Then, we diagnose and repair the damage which may include the liner, damper, masonry, and stains.
In order to prevent future leaks and other chimney damages, we offer the routine services and maintenance that will keep your system working longer, safer, and better. We agree with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) who say that the safest and most efficient chimney systems are those which are cleaned regularly and inspected annually. A to Z Chimneys offers chimney sweeps and CSIA inspections year-round so that our customers can have a safe and efficient chimney no matter how busy their schedule or what their finances look like. Schedule your important services when it makes sense for your family and home. Don’t wait until winter weather arrives.
Schedule now by calling 916-408-2496 today.