If you notice water trickling at the bottom of your fireplace, this is a problem that needs professional attention as soon as possible. If this seems to happen any time it rains, the source of the problem could be an issue with your chimney or your roof. In either case, you’re going to need help from a professional to have it fixed before you experience water damage in other areas of your home.
The most common way for professionals to diagnose leaks into a chimney is a straightforward water test. The person conducting the test will intentionally pour water in and around the chimney until they can locate the source of the leak.
Structural damage to the chimney itself
One of the most common reasons for rain to leak into a chimney is physical damage or wear and tear to the chimney. The portion of your chimney that extends outside of your home faces near constant exposure to the elements, including rain, snow, high wind, and sun exposure. All these factors can degrade the masonry of your chimney, eventually causing cracks and chips to form between the chimney’s bricks or stones.
Once small cracks form in the chimney’s structure, water can easily seep into these spots. During cooler weather. This means the water could freeze, thaw, and then refreeze, expanding the crack each time and eventually making the crack worse.
Chimney crown damage
The next possible source of rain entering your chimney is any damage to the chimney crown. This structure sits atop the chimney and typically features a sloped surface designed to allow rain to run off it and prevent it from entering the flue. If your chimney crown becomes cracked, chipped, corroded, or bent due to physical damage, these issues can easily interfere with proper water flow and allow rain to enter the flue. If there’s any problem with your chimney crown, it will be most noticeable during heavy rainfall.
Chimney lining problems
Your chimney has a clay lining on the inside of the flue that protects the masonry from the heat generated by your fireplace, and it should prevent rain from entering the flue. Over time, the clay lining could start to crack and chip, and it will be necessary to replace the lining with stainless steel or specialized alloy piping to continue protecting the flue.
Relining your chimney is one of the best ways to prevent rain from entering your chimney if you consistently notice water dripping into your fireplace every time it rains. In some cases, the team performing the chimney relining may need to make structural adjustments to accommodate the new lining, and during this process it’s not uncommon for them to repair any small problems they find while servicing the chimney.
Roof leaks around the chimney
Another common cause of rain leaking through your chimney and down to your fireplace is roof leaks. If you check your roof, you should notice strips of flashing surrounding the chimney at roof level. These flashings prevent water from entering the chimney, but they can wear, chip, and crack over time. If your chimney flashings have any type of damage that allows water to leak down to your fireplace, water is probably making its way into other areas of your home, such as the roof bed or attic.
These issues require prompt attention from professional roofers. The water you see dripping into your fireplace is likely only one symptom, and water making its way into your roof bed and below can eventually lead to substantial structural damage.
Fixing the problem and preventing rain from entering your chimney
If you want to stop rain from entering your chimney, the first crucial step is diagnosing the problem. An experienced roofer can inspect your roof and chimney flashing, and the team at Able Roof can also inspect the chimney itself to check with problems with the lining, structural damage, or shifted masonry caused by settling.
Once the professionals you hire determine the cause of the problem, they can start fixing it. Chimney repairs may not take too long, but if the issue has persisted for quite some time before you noticed it, the damage could be worse than you realize. These issues are never pleasant to encounter, but the right team can inspect your chimney thoroughly and accurately determine the cause of your leaks.
If you are noticing water pooling in your fireplace every time it rains, it’s best to have a professional inspect the problem as soon as possible. Contact Able Roof today for a free estimate for your chimney and/or roof repair, so you can return to using your fireplace with peace of mind.