Chimney Leaks: Trust Our Professionals for Repairs & Prevention
It’s dark outside. A cool breeze whips the rain at your windows – a faint splash with every strike. Every now and then a flash lights up the sky and your house trembles, windows rattling ever so slightly in their shutters with every roll of thunder. You’re cozied up in the living room, marveling at the power and force of Mother Nature, when you hear it: …drip…drip…drip…
At first, you think it’s coming from a nearby window that must’ve been slightly open, but as you approach the fireplace, on your way to the offending window, you notice that the sound has gotten louder. It appears to be coming from your hearth?
You get closer, kneel down, and find the floor of your firebox to have droplets of water mixing with soot. Realizing your chimney must have a leak, you grab a bucket to catch any rain you can, and make a note to call someone in the morning. For now, you turn up the TV in an attempt to drown out the sound of your impending repair, an irritating expense you hadn’t budgeted for.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Worried that your chimney is one storm away from leaking rainwater into your living room? Are you a homeowner in the Montgomery County area looking for a full-service, experienced, professional chimney repair and maintenance company?
If your answer is “yes” to any of the above, you’re in the right place. Servicing chimneys in Southwest Ohio for nearly two decades, Mid-Valley Chimney Repair & Sweeps is your trusted, local team of chimney experts. Whether your system is suffering from inefficiencies or you’re looking to schedule your annual inspection and cleaning, Mid-Valley is the place to call.
Book right here on our website, or reach us by phone at 513-727-0994 – we won’t let you down.
How Do I Stop My Chimney from Leaking? What Leak Repair Services Does Mid-Valley Provide?
We offer a range of services designed to fix your existing issues and help you come up with a maintenance plan to ensure you don’t find yourself the victim of a leaking chimney again down the line.
You can count on us for the following:
- Custom Chimney Cap Installation: The best way to prevent rain, snow, and sleet (along with animals, leaves, and other debris) from entering your chimney is to install a chimney cap. Our custom-fitted, high-quality stainless steel caps carry a lifetime warranty, so ask about having yours fitted today.
- Chase Cover Installation: Leaky or damaged chase covers can create a lot of potential hazards for your prefabricated or factory-built fireplace. We can eliminate problems before they get worse by replacing your rusted or broken down chase cover.
- Crown Rebuilds: Improperly built crowns are, unfortunately, a common problem in the world of chimneys. If yours is cracked or poorly constructed, water could easily enter and create more damage. We can build a proper concrete one that’s guaranteed not to crack.
- Waterproofing Services: Waterproofing is a must for any masonry structure, and having it done by a professional will ensure your system is not only well-protected, but vapor-permeable, too. Our experts can get the job done right.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? Just give us a call at 513-727-0994 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Is It Normal for a Chimney To Leak During Heavy Rain?
Here’s the thing. In many ways, it kind of makes sense that a chimney would leak when it rains… especially if it’s a downpour! After all, a chimney is but an elaborate casing meant to ventilate your fireplace by providing the smoke a way out of your home. Basically, though, it is a hole through your roof, so how would it not leak? Especially when the rain is particularly heavy?
While, yes, the basic concept of a chimney (or any other ventilation system) is just that – a sort of large pipe that connects the outside to the inside – the actual structure is far more complicated and is (ideally) constructed with an awareness of its placement and function in mind.
This is to say, while chimneys may seem rather simplistic both in their appearance and operation, each and every one is constructed intentionally. Every piece, part, and component works to ensure the fireplace is safely usable while still being protected from heavy rain, falling debris, animal entry, and more.
To sum up and answer the question simply… No – it’s not normal for chimneys to leak during heavy rainfall.
Why Does Rain Drip Down My Chimney?
Well, every situation – like every chimney – is different. However, one thing remains relatively constant when it comes to leaks: inefficiencies. Whether your chimney cap is damaged or missing, your crown is cracking, your flashing was not properly installed, or perhaps something else, a leaking chimney is a direct result of a damaged system.
Sometimes it’s as simple as an old metal chimney cap at the end of its life span no longer properly protecting the chimney flue against rain, snow, leaves, or other debris. Other times, the damage might be more extreme, creating a greater risk of dangers to not only your chimney/fireplace system, but your home, too (such is the case if your flashing is deteriorating).
In short, without investigating your chimney system and its overall soundness and structural integrity, it is impossible to know why water is dripping down your fireplace whenever it rains.
What we do know, however, is that regardless of the cause, it is important to get someone out to have a look right away. Once assessed and the culprit identified, you can schedule a repair service to get the issue taken care of, empowering you to get back to using your fireplace.
And remember – sooner is always better than later, especially when it comes to chimney repair services. The longer you ignore the problem, the worse it becomes for the safety of the system and your home, as well as your wallet.
Ready to check this off the list? Give the team at Mid-Valley Chimney Repair & Sweeps a call at 513-727-994. Or, alternatively, contact us right here online to get started today!
What Is the Most Common Cause of Chimney Leaks?
As we mentioned, there is no “one-size-fits-all” explanation for why a chimney is leaking, at least in terms of the specifics. However, it’s important to remember that of all the potential dangers to the health of a chimney, water is its greatest threat. No matter where or how water seeps in, the entire integrity of the system is compromised until the cause of the leak is discovered and repaired.
That being said, there are a handful of common issues that lead to an inefficient, leaking system. If you’re worried about chimney leaks, keep an eye out for the following:
- Corroded, damaged, or missing cap. Though every element of a chimney is necessary for proper and suitable operation, one of the most important is the metal cap installed atop the flue. With grates or holes or some other form of breathability, caps allow for adequate air flow and ventilation to the fireplace, while ensuring the flue is not left unprotected and exposed to the open air.
- Cracked or poorly constructed crown. Designed to cover the rest of the chimney (save for the flue), in many ways, the crown is the first level of defense against unwanted intrusion into the otherwise open chimney cavity. And a crown that cracks, chips, and crumbles was not likely created properly – and will likely continue to cause various issues until rebuilt. This is also true if your home has a prefabricated chimney and a metal chase cover – once that material comes into contact with enough rain or is otherwise not well maintained, water can leak in and erode the wooden or masonry siding of your chimney.
- Deteriorating or incorrectly installed flashing. For all intents and purposes, without the flashing, the seams where your roofline meets the base of your chimney would wreak havoc on your home. Flashing is installed to seal off these openings, while still allowing both the roof and the chimney the ability to “breathe” in conjunction with fluctuating temperatures. If it’s not properly placed in just the right way, it might not just be your chimney that’s leaking, but your ceiling and nearby walls as well.
- Old, un-weatherproofed brick and mortar. As durable as brickwork is, it is equally porous. This means that, unless properly waterproofed and treated for a variety of weather conditions, over time, moisture will break down the material from the inside out. Just because it’s strong doesn’t mean it’s impenetrable.
- Damaged or cracked flue liner. While often the initial result of old age or some other damage, if there are any inefficiencies in your flue liner, this can contribute to a leaking chimney. Particularly in masonry chimneys with terra cotta liners, it’s important to ensure that your liner is damage-free before utilizing the system. An ineffective liner may not seem like a huge deal, but can cause significant damage to your fireplace, home, and family if left untreated.
Why Is Water So Damaging to Chimney Systems?
So, there are a couple of major threats when it comes to water and your chimney. The first is moisture’s ability to wash out your mortar joints. Strong mortar is essential to keeping your masonry both looking good and acting supportive, but water can soak into these areas and cause significant crumbling and decay.
The second is the freeze/thaw cycle, which is something we really have to watch out for in this part of the country. All throughout Cincinnati, Loveland, Mason, West Chester, Montgomery, Indian Hill, and other parts of our service area, we’re subject to frigid winters. We do all kinds of things to prepare for these colder days, like insulating our pipes, having our heating system looked over, and stocking up on ice melt, but what about our chimney?
The truth is that, if you put a brick under a microscope, you’d see lots of tiny pores, all of which can easily soak up water and moisture. Basically, your bricks are more like sponges than you’d probably guess. And in the winter this water freezes, and when water freezes, it expands. This pressure causes your bricks and mortar to break down and crack significantly.
Now, think about this. For months at a time, it’s not uncommon for temps in our area to go above freezing in the day, then drop back below at night. This means your system could face well over 100 freeze/thaw cycles in just one season. Needless to say, finding ways to combat this cycle is vital to keeping your system in good shape for the long haul.
What Are the Signs That My Chimney Is Leaking?
Often, a chimney leak is obvious: a steady dripping of water down the flue, a growing puddle in the firebox, or maybe even some discoloration in your ceiling or wall closest to your chimney.
There are instances, though, where a leak might not be as obvious. This is one of the many reasons it’s crucial to have a maintenance schedule that you can actually stick to. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but getting your chimney inspected and swept annually is a surefire way to catch any irregularities or discrepancies before they become a bigger problem.
If you notice any of the following, you very likely have a leak somewhere in your chimney:
- Signs of mold, mildew, or any other abnormal or vegetative growth
- A damp or musty odor lingering in and around your hearth
- Corrosion or rusting of metallic components
- Cracks, holes, or any level of separation between brick and mortar
- Crumbling, flaking, spalling bricks
- Bizarre discoloration on the outside of the chimney, such as efflorescence (the white, chalky residue)
- Rotting or soggy wooden paneling or other parts
- Dirt, debris, or other materials that might be causing a clog or buildup in the flue
- Any level of damage to or deterioration of the flue liner
Perhaps you’ve noticed something else that’s giving you a hunch that your system is leaking. The best thing you can do is schedule an appointment with someone from our team. A Mid-Valley chimney technician will come out to your home, assess the chimney and its damage, and help point you in the right direction of repair options. Call or book online today.
Are Chimney Leaks Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
Ultimately, it depends on the circumstances, but the safe answer is… unfortunately, no.
The reason for this is because, assuming your chimney leak is not the result of extreme weather conditions like an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, super severe thunderstorm, flooding, etc., most chimney leaks are preventable. That is, as long as you’re caring for your system properly and ensuring you’re staying on top of required maintenance.
However, the flip side of this predicament is actually good news because it means you never have to find yourself in a similar position again. Fortunately, even if you don’t know the first thing about proper chimney care and upkeep, the team here at Mid-Valley is here to help walk you through it.
And if the damage is, in fact, due to an unforeseen act of nature or an otherwise aggravated weather event? Provided you have a record or an alternative way to prove that you’re up to date on your required, annual chimney maintenance and services, you shouldn’t have an issue submitting a claim to your insurance company.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix a Leak Around a Chimney?
That is a great question that we would love to answer for you, but, without first visiting your home and seeing the severity of the damage, we can’t provide an accurate price range. Like so many other home improvement services, chimney repair costs – including those meant to fix a leak – greatly vary from home to home and chimney to chimney.
To get the most precise estimate, you first need to schedule a consultation, so that we can see what we’re working with. During that visit, your technician will get a better idea of all the factors involved and outline a clear and concise path forward.
It’s important to note here that, even if the chimney leak repair service that you’ve been quoted for is more expensive than what you originally planned on, never settle for a lower estimate from a subpar, underrated company. Worse still, do not succumb to the “DIY” trend taking over the internet. We love a good craft moment as much as the next person, but feel strongly that chimneys are one of those home projects best left to the professionals with certifications and years of experience.
Plus, you can rest assured knowing your system is safe in our hands, meaning, should you keep up your side of the bargain (yearly inspections, sweepings, and regular maintenance), you’ll only have to shell out the cash this one time. Much better in the long run than paying less for an inferior job or hurting yourself in the process.
Looking for a price tag? Give us a call at 513-727-0994 and we’d be happy to set something up to get you started.
We’re Equipped to Help With It All — Schedule a Service Today
So, whether you’ve noticed a consistent dripping whenever it rains, or you just have an inkling that something might be off, you can trust the team here at Mid-Valley Chimney Repair & Sweeps to get your chimney back up and running in no time. Our technicians are highly trained, certified with the most recognized organizations across our industry, and always keep you informed throughout the process, every step of the way.
For homeowners in and around Montgomery County, when it comes to fireplaces and chimneys, there is no one better than Mid-Valley.
Ready to book your service? Give us a call at 513-727-0994 to speak with a member of our team and learn more about what we can do for you. Or, if you prefer, contact us right here, through our website and we’ll get back to you ASAP. We look forward to serving you and making your home that much cozier.