7 Ways To Spot Chimney Leaks This Winter

The Maine winters are beautiful, long, and often very harsh. Your fireplace is an integral part of your Maine home not only for ambiance, but for additional warmth. Unfortunately, winter precipitation plays a harsh role in the deterioration of your chimney. We may love the first snow-fall of the year but, by spring, winter has played a toll on both us and the chimney when it comes to water damage.

  1. Pooling Water: Sometimes chimney leaks are obvious (e.g., you actually see a pool of water in your fireplace), but other times the signs are a lot more subtle.
  2. Crumbling Brickwork: There are a lot of reasons why your brickwork and mortar may be deteriorating, but the biggest cause is typically water-related issues. The freeze/thaw cycle can kill the integrity of your structure quickly if the masonry has absorbed water. If you spot cracks or other damage and deterioration throughout your masonry, schedule an inspection right away.
  3. Rusted Metal Components: Water and rust go hand-in-hand. If your chimney cap, damper, or flashing is starting to rust, then it’s likely that you have water entering somewhere it shouldn’t be.
  4. A Damaged Chimney Crown: Your crown plays an enormous role in sending water off and away from the sides of your masonry chimney. Unfortunately, crowns are often constructed poorly or with a weaker mortar mix, which makes them more vulnerable to water absorption and breakdown. If your chimney is water-damaged and your brick is crumbling, the crown could be the culprit. So keep an eye on both your crown and your masonry.
  5. Rotting Woodwork: Wood won’t rot without at least some exposure to moisture. So if your wood-framed chimney or wood in your attic near your chimney is rotting, consider the possibility that you have a chimney leak.
  6. Musty/Unpleasant Odors: Bad smells from your chimney don’t necessarily mean you have a leak, but it sure is a likely possibility. Animals, creosote build-up, and mold are all known for stinking things up, but water makes these smells worse. Everyone is familiar with the musty odor that only standing water can produce. If you smell something funky, don’t brush it off! Schedule an inspection.
  7. Poor Airflow: Water is really good at binding debris together and causing clogs in your flue. So it’s not uncommon for leaks and bad airflow to go hand-in-hand. If you’re noticing drafting issues, then consider the role water may be playing in the equation.

It’s important to keep your senses alert, so that you can get the care you need as soon as possible. Noting signs early could wind up saving you a lot of time and money later on!

Preventative care is possible too! From waterproofing to proper chimney cap installations, Brickliners can help you avoid the frustration of winter or spring chimney leaks.