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Waterproofing Your Chimney

If you live in the Sacramento area and Googled something like “waterproofing chimney,” chances are your chimney has sprung a leak and your Internet search has brought you to the A to Z Chimney Sweep site. Well, you’re in the right place! In business since 1995, we have yet to meet a chimney leak we can’t repair, and we almost always recommend that our customers have us follow leak resolution by also having their chimney professionally waterproofed.

Are you concerned about the condition of your chimney? If you live in the Sacramento area, make an appointment with A to Z Chimney Sweep today.

If you’re not sure if your masonry chimney is leaking or not, you can look for the following signs: stained ceilings or wall coverings around the fireplace, stained chimney brick, crumbling brick or mortar, mold or efflorescence on or around the chimney, etc. Musty smells and dripping sounds are also dead giveaways that water has accessed your chimney. You will want to keep water out to prevent the spread of more damage, which can quickly become costly to repair.

Waterproofing is a preventative measure—something we prefer to do prior to any leaks—but it’s also a great thing to do after a leak has been repaired so that leaks won’t happen again. By applying a semi-permeable membrane called ChimneySaver to the exterior of your chimney we allow your chimney to “breathe” while keeping water out of your porous chimney brick and masonry. ChimneySaver comes with a 10 year limited warranty. In our experience, it really works for our customers.

What Else Can I Do to Keep Water Out of My Chimney?

In addition to waterproofing, there are a number of great ways to keep water out of your chimney, including:

  • Install a chimney cap or top-sealing damper
  • Install new flashing or repair existing flashing, counterflashing, or crickets
  • If needed, undertake any masonry repairs

Only a certified chimney technician will be able to tell you for sure what is causing your chimney to leak and to advise you on how best to fix this. The good news is that most of these repairs come with additional benefits—like energy savings or increased efficiency. Plus, they’ll help increase the value of your home and make your fires safer to burn.

If you have any questions about waterproofing a chimney or if you need to schedule a chimney inspection, we hope you’ll contact A to Z Chimney Sweep.

Watch Out for Creosote!

Buildup Is a Bad Word

It might not have four letters, but buildup is definitely a word you don’t want to hear when it comes to your chimney. This is true of just about anything around the house: whether it’s the grime or gunk on the shower, tub, sink, floors, windows…you get the picture—buildup usually means we’ve allowed something unpleasant to layer up, resulting in extra work spraying, scrubbing, and sweating to remove whatever-it-is.

Your chimney suffers from buildup, too—only this kind of buildup isn’t harmless and can’t be resolved with a little extra elbow grease. Creosote is a natural by-product of a wood fire. It starts as vapors made of unburned gases and turns into tar-like glop that likes to stick to the inside of your chimney flue. It has a bad smell, kind of like asphalt or tar, but this isn’t the worst thing about it. When it builds up inside your flue, it traps heat inside the chimney instead of letting it out, which can generate enough heat for the creosote to catch fire. Creosote is a fuel, and a highly combustible one, that causes an average of 24,000 home fires per year.

Creosote buildup can increase substantially if you are burning green or wet wood. Make sure to use properly seasoned firewood.

Creosote buildup can increase substantially if you are burning green or wet wood. Make sure to use properly seasoned firewood.

Home fires aren’t the only thing that creosote buildup is responsible for. Not only is it a fuel, but it is also corrosive and can damage the flue lining, causing erosion or cracks that lead to other problems, like water damage, that affect the structure of your home.

A to Z can take care of this chimney menace for you. We are certified to sweep your chimney, which is just another way of saying we get rid of creosote and make sure your chimney is free of any obstruction that might cause a chimney fire and endanger you and your home.

Having your chimney inspected and cleaned annually is the best way to ward off the ominous creosote buildup, and doing it during the spring and summer is really the best way to go. The fireplace may be the last thing on your mind when it’s hot outside and you’re doing everything you can to stay cool, but it’s important to get rid of the creosote right after the cold season, that way it doesn’t have time to sit and corrode your chimney flue all year while your fireplace isn’t in use. So don’t wait around—we make it easy to schedule your appointment—you can give us a call or fill in this quick online form to get started today.