When it comes to chimney care and maintenance, most homeowners focus on keeping their chimney swept and inspected to help prevent a chimney fire. While a clean chimney is undoubtedly crucial, your chimney’s No. 1 enemy is, in fact, water, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). That’s because water can damage and weaken your chimney, rendering it unsafe and unsightly.
Water leaking in through your chimney also can do damage to your home. It can cause your home’s supporting beams to rot and weaken; it can cause mold and mildew to form; and it can cause ugly stains or damage to ceilings and walls. And just like a dirty chimney, a water-damaged chimney can become weak to the point that it poses a fire hazard.
With all of the risks to your chimney and your home, it’s vital that you do what you can to protect your chimney from water damage. There are a few measures the CSIA recommends taking to keep your chimney safe from water damage. Those measures include:
Installing a sturdy chimney cap
Your chimney’s cap is its primary defense against water. A chimney cap covers the opening of your chimney’s flue, preventing water from flowing freely down the inside of your chimney. Keep an eye on your chimney cap to make sure it is damage free and firmly in place to protect your chimney. Should you need a new chimney cap, the CSIA advises investing in a chimney cap that is constructed from a durable metal that won’t rust or corrode over time.
Keeping your chimney crown in good repair
Your chimney crown is a masonry structure at the very top of your chimney. It seals in the layers of chimney walls and, when properly constructed, it directs water away from the opening of your flue and overhangs the exterior sides of your chimney to prevent water from running down the chimney’s masonry. Many chimney crowns aren’t constructed properly and fail to do their job, or they crack or deteriorate prematurely. Ask your chimney sweep if your chimney crown is in good repair and constructed properly to protect your chimney from water damage.
Shoring up your flashing
One of the most common causes of chimney leaks is failing flashing. Flashing surrounds the base of your chimney where it meets your roof to keep water out. Your flashing should be checked regularly to make sure that it hasn’t developed holes or cracks and isn’t pulling away from the chimney.
Waterproofing your chimney
To truly protect your chimney from water damage, you also can have a waterproofing agent applied to your chimney’s exterior. Chimney waterproofing products prevent water from penetrating your chimney’s masonry while still allowing the masonry to “breathe.”
Addressing water damage immediately
The best way to keep your chimney and your home safe from water damage is to be proactive. Address any leaks, cracks or size of water damage immediately. Otherwise, the leak and the damage will only progress, causing a bigger — and more expensive — problem.
If you notice signs of chimney damage, or if you want to protect your chimney from water damage with a new chimney cap or chimney waterproofing, call Environmental Chimney Service today!