Nothing can cause more damage to your chimney and home than water. Water leaking into your chimney can rust metal elements, like dampers, metal fireboxes and fireplace accessories. Water leaks can cause stains on walls, ceilings and chimneys. Even more severely, water leaks can cause rot in your home’s wooden structure, and cause cracks and deterioration in your chimney. It can even cause your chimney’s structure to fail.
You can save your chimney from water’s dangerous effects. By taking some precautions, and making sure you stay up on chimney maintenance, you can protect your home from water and structural damage.
Cap your chimney.
Installing a chimney cap, or ensuring that your existing chimney cap is properly installed and in good repair can help shield your flue from the elements. A chimney cap is the only thing that keeps water from pooling down the inner walls of your chimney. Your chimney should have been installed with a cap in place, but those caps can deteriorate over time or become dislodged.
Inspect your flashing.
Flashing seals your roof at the base of the chimney. Often, that flashing is improperly installed, and even properly installed eventually corrode. Keeping an eye on this flashing to make sure it stays well sealed will ensure that water doesn’t seep into your roof. If your chimney is on a portion of your roof that is especially exposed to water runoff, you may want to consider installing a cricket, a pyramid-shaped piece of metal flashing that will divert chimney away from your chimney’s base.
One of the best ways to protect your chimney from water is with ChimneySaver waterproofing. ChimneySaver coats your chimney’s masonry with a permeable, yet waterproof coat. It keeps 99.9 percent of moisture from permeating the chimney while still allowing 100 percent of vapors from your chimney. That means that it keeps water out while allowing the gases and any water moisture created by your fireplace to exit the masonry.
Keep up on annual chimney inspections and repairs.
To keep minor leaks from becoming major problems, be sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually. During your chimney inspection, your chimney sweep will be able to locate any signs of water damage or any cracks or weakness in your chimney, chimney cap, chimney crown or flashing that could lead to a leaking chimney or water damage. If you notice any signs of water leaks, such as a browning or sagging ceiling or wallboard, moisture in your firebox or rusting fireplace components, make sure you to have your chimney assessed for leaks as soon as possible.
Most importantly, stay on top of any chimney repairs. Many relatively inexpensive repairs can save you a lot of money in repairing water damage.