Precipitation can seem like such a little thing, but it can have the most extreme effects on the things it lands on. For example, if you’ve ever been in an area where there’s not been rain for quite a while during the summer months, you know how welcome a gentle rain can be. The air smells fresh, the dust settles, and it doesn’t take long before the soft green grass starts to grow again. It may be hard to believe, then, that precipitation can also have some pretty devastating effects on the surfaces that it falls on. When it comes to your chimney, precipitation can cause some very negative consequences to the structure.
You may be wondering what type of damage moisture can cause for your chimney and fireplace. Among other things, it can cause damage to your chimney structure and damage to the walls and ceiling around your fireplace inside your home. If it is leaking down your chimney, it can cause your dampers to rust. Your dampers are open when you’re burning a fire to let the smoke out and to help create a draft that will keep your fire burning strong and steady. When you aren’t using your fireplace, you want your dampers to close tightly so that the cold air isn’t drawn into your home as the warmed air is pulled out. If your dampers are rusted, this isn’t happening as it should be.
Other problems caused by leaks could be rusted fireplace accessories and glass doors, a stained chimney exterior, rotting wood around your fireplace, a clogged cleanout area, or a firebox assembly that’s deteriorating. A leak down the interior of your chimney might cause damage to your chimney liner. The chimney liner is important for three reasons: it protects your chimney from the corrosive effects of smoke, it protects the flammable items that might be sitting next to your fireplace from igniting due to the heat of the fire, and if it fits properly, it helps to ensure that you’re getting an efficient burn. If the liner is cracked or chipped, these things won’t be taking place as they should be.
Chimney Caps and Flashing
It’s pretty obvious that another area that might be susceptible to leaks is the top of the chimney. There it is, just open to the elements. The best way to stop the rain from coming into the chimney opening is to cover it up with a chimney cap. When you look at the top of the chimney, there’s a large cement piece, the chimney crown, that helps to keep the rain out. It has slanted sides that overhang the chimney by at least two inches, and the slope allows the rain to flow down and away from the junction where the roof meets the chimney. But the opening is still there. That’s why a chimney cap is so important. While a chimney crown is attached to the roof, a chimney cap is something that you can add to your chimney. It is like a little room with grated sides to let the smoke out, and with a slanted roof to keep the rain out. The sloped roof means that the precipitation will be directed down towards the chimney crown and then off the roof. Not every chimney has a chimney cap, however. If you don’t have a chimney cap, or if your chimney cap is in bad shape, rusted or twisted, then give Alpine Chimney Sweeps a call and let us set you up with any style of chimney cap that you want for your home.
Speaking of that spot where the chimney meets the roof, because this spot is so susceptible to leakage, it needs special protection. That’s where your flashing comes in. The flashing is the metal strips that cover this juncture. They are specially layered so that any precipitation is directed away from the opening. If these strips are loose, torn, or rusted, then that area is not being protected and your chimney is getting leaks.
Protecting Your Chimney
There are several ways to protect your chimney from water leaks. Repairs to your chimney cap and flashing are an important step, but for even more protection, you may want to have your chimney waterproofed. As the rainy season begins, water leaks can cause any of the stated damage as well as possible areas of mold build-up, which can leave a real mess that can be difficult and expensive to remove. Give Alpine Chimney Sweeps a call and we can help you take care of any areas of leakage from your chimney cap to your flashing and any other areas that need repair. We can also take care of waterproofing your chimney. It may seem as though this would be a simple process, but it’s important that you use the correct tools and the correct product to make sure that your chimney is properly waterproofed. At Alpine, we use ChimneySaver Water Repellent, which not only keeps your chimney from absorbing moisture but also allows any moisture that may be trapped in your chimney to escape.
The professionals at Alpine Chimney Sweeps are committed to making sure that our customers are completely satisfied by our excellent service, and to make sure that happens we are certified by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), and we’re also Certified Chimney Professionals. We are dedicated to making sure our customers stay safe and healthy, so when you call us to take care of your chimney, you can rest assured that it is in the best possible shape it can be. Call us soon, before the rainy season sets in so that your chimney is safe from leaks and all the negative effects those leaks produce!