When there is a problem with your chimney, you may not notice it at first. In fact, most homeowners won’t notice a problem until it causes a bigger and more dangerous problem. This is because most of your chimney is hidden from view. The homeowner sees the fireplace opening and the masonry, but the workings inside are hidden, and often, these parts are misunderstood and neglected. Your chimney may show signs of an issue way before damage is suspected, and homeowners don’t know what to look for.

Since the biggest threat to your chimney is water, we want you to know all about chimney leaks. What causes them? How do you identify them? What can you do to prevent them? Operating and living in the Pacific Northwest means that Pristine Sweeps has experience with wet seasons and chimneys. We often diagnose chimney leaks and repair water-damaged chimneys. We are here to help you too!

First Signs of a Chimney Leak

rainbow outside a windowThe first signs of a chimney leak are subtle. Your fireplace may be more difficult to light and becomes smoky very quickly. During the off-season, it can be hard to identify the leak because there will be no fire. Homeowners may notice a change in the air of the home. If you notice odors around your fireplace opening or when you open your fireplace doors, there is likely damage. If you notice any changes in your chimney, whether is the looks, smells, or how it runs, you should notify your chimney sweep for troubleshooting and diagnostics.

Noticeable Signs of a Leak

By the time a homeowner notices these signs, there is definitely a leak and most likely ample damage behind the scenes. Some very obvious signs that your chimney and fireplace have a chimney leak are the following:

  • Stains on the masonry
  • Visible dripping/sounds of dripping
  • Rusted parts/discolored parts
  • Masonry damage/cracks/gaps
  • Odors of mildew/mold
  • White efflorescence on exterior masonry
  • Leaks in other areas of the home

There are a few reasons to call the chimney sweep. If you have a leak in another part of the house that is affecting the safety and integrity of the ceiling, your first inclination may be calling for the plumber, roofer, or general contractor. In actuality, this leak is most likely caused by the chimney and should be handled by a chimney professional. When water enters your chimney, it moves through the walls, floors, and ceilings until it collects at a low point. This is where it forms a leak and damages other parts of the house including the furniture and wall coverings. Other trade professional may be able to repair the damage, but only a certified chimney professional can properly diagnose the leak, correct the problem, and prevent a chimney leak.

Prevent Chimney Leaks

Because of the amount of damage chimney leaks can cause, it is always better to prevent them rather than repairing the damage later. If you’re unsure whether or not your chimney system can withstand another year of precipitation, call Pristine Sweeps.

We can make sure your chimney is safeguarded against water by installing a chimney cap, ensuring the integrity of the crown, flashing, and masonry, and even waterproof the chimney with an industrial water-repellent. Call Pristine Sweeps at 206-574-8414 to ask about chimney leak inspections today!