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We Do Chimney Leak Inspections

It’s true, Seattle has a lot of rain year-round, but we also have snow and freezing weather. Winter is just around the corner, and a little water in the chimney system now can become a serious problem as temperatures begin to drop.

We Do Chimney Leak Inspections Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsWater and Your Masonry

Because of the materials that make up masonry, it is extremely affected by water. In fact, water can destroy a masonry chimney from the inside-out, causing:

  • Rusted parts
  • Stained masonry, walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Cracking and spalling masonry
  • Deterioration and settlement
  • Mold and mildew

Water will damage masonry no matter what time of the year, but it’s especially dangerous during the winter when it’s subject to a freeze/thaw cycle. During the winter, water penetrates the masonry, freezes and expands, breaking apart the masonry, then melting and moving further into the chimney system. This process is repeated throughout the winter as the chimney cools and warms during use. A small crack at the end of summer can be a serious hazard by the end of winter, decreasing efficiency, raising fire risk, and requiring costly repairs.

Schedule Now

The best way to prevent water damage is to schedule your annual inspection now. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends annual inspections for the safest and most efficient chimney. Maybe you already had your chimney inspection for this year, but you’ve noticed signs of a leak over the last few weeks or months. Pristine Sweeps offers chimney leak inspections. When you suspect a leak, do not call a roofer or general contractor. When you experience a leak, no matter where it is in your home, it’s most likely caused by your chimney. A Pristine Sweeps technician can come in and assess your leak, identify the cause, and prepare a report for repairs to prevent re-occurrence.

Common Points of Water Penetration

At Pristine Sweeps we commonly see damaged or missing chimney caps, and flashing that was installed incorrectly. Flashing should be installed by an experienced professional, because it is a tedious job that depends on the slant and materials of the roof. It’s important, too, because the intersection of the roof and chimney is the most vulnerable to water damage. It’s one of the first things that we check when a chimney is leaking.

Waterproofing

When we assess and repair a leaky chimney, we can also prevent re-occurrence. Pristine Sweeps uses ChimneySaver to treat your masonry and protect it from future water damage. This specially-formulated sealant creates a vapor-permeable barrier that allows vapors to escape, while preventing water molecules from getting in.

Whether you need your annual CSIA inspection, or a specific chimney leak inspection, Pristine Sweeps is just a call away. Call 206-574-8414 or make an appointment using our online scheduling tool.

Diagnosing Chimney Leaks

Water in your fireplace and chimney – whether it is a few small drops or a large puddle – is never a good thing. And because chimneys have many different components, identifying the exact cause of a chimney leak can be difficult. However, it is important to identify – and repair – the underlying cause of the chimney leak in order to prevent further water damage from occurring.

Diagnosing Chimney Leaks - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsCommon causes of chimney leaks

The following are four of the most common causes of chimney leaks. Because every chimney system – and leak – is unique, a professional chimney inspection is often needed to identify the exact cause of the leaky chimney.

  • Chimney cap: Made of a solid metal top with mesh or wire sides, the chimney cap is designed to keep water, animals, and debris out of the flue. If the chimney cap is ill-fitting, incorrectly installed, or damaged in any way, water can begin to leak into the chimney.
  • Chimney crown: While chimney caps protect the top of the flue, chimney crowns seal the top of the chimney. Made of masonry, stone, or concrete, chimney crowns often bear the brunt of the exposure to the elements; their flat top means they are especially prone to water damage from rain, ice, and snow. Because of this, chimney crowns can crack and allow water in, causing a chimney leak.
  • Flashing: Flashing seals the joint between the roof and your chimney. Made by layering strips of metal to create a watertight seal, leaks caused by faulty flashing are often blamed on roofs instead. Whether it was installed with too many nail holes, was jostled while the roof was being repaired, or has simply been exposed to the elements for too long, leaky flashing can damage the roof, masonry, ceilings, and walls surrounding the chimney.
  • Masonry: Your bricks and mortar themselves can let water in. Because masonry is naturally porous, small amounts of water and constantly being absorbed. However, the absorption of too much water can damage the masonry; this leads to masonry holes and cracks that can create leaks.

Preventing chimney leaks

Oftentimes the best way to prevent chimney leaks is through regular chimney maintenance. Annual chimney sweepings and inspections can insure that no parts of your chimney are damaged – and that there are no unseen areas of water entry.

In addition to annual inspections, waterproofing may be able to protect your masonry against water. During the waterproofing process, specially designed masonry water repellants are applied to the bricks and mortar. These products penetrate deeply into the masonry, keeping new water out but allowing old water to evaporate.

Don’t let a leaky chimney cause damage to your fireplace and chimney system. Instead, have a chimney professional diagnose – and repair – the cause of your chimney leak. Contact Pristine Sweeps today for more information on how we can repair your leaky chimney and the damage to your fireplace it may have caused.

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment