What Causes a Leaky Chimney?

Do you have a masonry chimney? If you do, you may already know that the likelihood of having a leaky chimney can be quite high. Why are masonry chimneys so likely to experience water leaks? The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) answers this question by stating that water is the biggest enemy of a masonry chimney. Every component of your chimney can possibly suffer expensive and extensive damage when water penetrates into your chimney. Stained ceilings or walls, loose bricks and chipped mortar on the exterior of your chimney, and musty or moldy odors coming from your fireplace are all signs of a leaky chimney. If you have seen any of these signs, it is crucial to contact a professional chimney company like Hudson Chimney to locate the source of the leak and make repairs so that your fireplace and chimney system can function safely and properly. But, what exactly can lead to a leaky chimney? We would like to tell you four problems that allow water to easily penetrate your chimney.

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1. DAMAGED OR MISSING CHIMNEY CAPS

Chimney caps are your least expensive preventive measures against water penetration because they cover the top of your chimney. Freezing temperatures and destructive animals trying to get into your chimney can cause cracks and other damage your chimney cap. When your chimney cap is damaged (or even worse, missing completely), water from rain and melted snow can easily get into the masonry work of the interior of your chimney. Hudson Chimney offers a wide variety of chimney caps, and our certified technicians can install a custom-fitted cap to protect your chimney from water leaks.

2. DETERIORATED CHIMNEY CROWNS

Located directly beneath the chimney cap, a chimney crown is constructed from concrete and used to seal the opening of your chimney. Unfortunately, your crown could be made from the wrong or ineffective material, or it could be improperly installed. In these situations, damage and deterioration will occur sooner than later, and you will have an opening to your chimney where water can easily enter. The masons at Hudson Chimney can repair damaged chimney crowns as well as correctly install custom-made crowns to keep the water out of your chimney.

3. DAMAGED FLASHING

Flashing is sheeting made from metal that is placed between your chimney and your roof to protect this area from water leaks. Easily improperly installed, not every chimney company will the time to customize the flashing itself for a perfect fit. Our technicians will customize flashing by carefully measuring each part of your chimney and its surrounding areas on your roof so that it fits exactly and leaves no holes or cracks, which allow water penetration of your chimney.

4. WORN OUT MORTAR JOINTS

Water deteriorates the essential mortar joints that hold your chimney together and creates holes and cracks within the masonry. In the winter, water trapped in your chimney freezes and thaws, which leads to the bricks breaking and crumbling, and this will cause even more water leak problems. Fortunately, Hudson Chimney can do masonry repairs using the tuck pointing process. Once we have completed these repairs, we can apply a waterproofing treatment that will ensure that your masonry work in your chimney is protected from any water leaks in the future.

Dealing with a leaky chimney? Contact Hudson Chimney to schedule a visit from one of our certified masons to fix your water penetration problems.

Using CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps

When looking for a chimney sweep to entrust with the task of cleaning and inspecting your chimney, you may wonder how you are supposed to distinguish a good chimney sweep from a bad one. After all, you want to hire a professional who knows what he or she is doing and who can help you to protect your home from the dangers that owning a chimney can present. The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a non-profit organization that reviews and certifies chimney sweep companies in order to provide homeowners with a standard for their chimney needs.

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To be CSIA certified, a chimney technician must attend a review session and pass an exam covering Successful Chimney Sweeping (2011), National Fire Protection Agency 211 (2013), and the 2006 International Residential Code. Anyone applying for certification must also sign the CSIA code of ethics and pay an annual fee. In order to remain certified, this process must be repeated by the technician every three years.

These procedures for certification create a method for homeowners to determine if a chimney sweep is qualified to clean and inspect a chimney in a professional and informed manner. Chimneys and appliances can cause fires and carbon monoxide leaks if not properly maintained. Therefore, making sure your chimney sweep knows what he or she is doing in addition to being dedicated to helping you detect and fix potential problems is of the utmost importance.

It is significant to note that the CSIA not only seeks to educate and evaluate technicians, but also to provide an ethical code for professionals to follow. When technicians sign this code, they pledge to conduct business in an honest and fair manner, as well as to remain knowledgeable and up to date on all chimney standards and procedures. They also agree to do their best to educate you, the consumer, and to act in a professional and respectful manner.

Hudson Chimney is certified by the CSIA, so you can be sure that you will be in good hands. The technicians at Hudson Chimney have been servicing the Jacksonville, Florida Area for over thirty years, ensuring their clients clean, safe, and warm homes with efficient heating systems. You can trust the professionals at Hudson Chimney to be knowledgeable in their skills and to provide you and your appliances with service of the highest quality.

If you have any questions about CSIA certification or policies, or if you have any questions about chimneys and appliances as a homeowner, be sure to check out CSIA.org for more information. Their website is an informative and reliable resource of educational material for your benefit.

Also, if your chimney has not been serviced this year yet, schedule an appointment with a technician at Hudson Chimney as soon as possible. The fall and winter are busy for any chimney servicing company, and the sooner you call, the more likely your home will be prepared for the colder winter months. The professionals at Hudson Chimney will make sure your chimney is prepared!

5 Tips for Homeowners — Chimney Maintenance

There are few things more pleasurable than coming in from the cold and building a roaring fire. In order to fully enjoy your fireplace, it is important to keep in mind the maintenance that keeps you safe and warm. Hiring a certified chimney sweep to inspect your heating system once a year is critical. This will remove the worries from your mind. After all, you have enough worries!

Crackling Fire - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

Crackling Fire – Jacksonville FL – Hudson Chimney

Why shell out hard-earned money to hire a sweep? There are many reasons; but they mainly are the same reasons you’d take a car that wasn’t running properly to a mechanic. By the time there is a problem with your car, it is sometimes more costly and can endanger your safety. Sweeps, like mechanics can see things you don’t notice. And a set of professional eyes on your chimney may see smaller problems before they become costly repairs. Some of the things your sweep will be looking for are:

  • “Puffy” or “honey combed” creosote
  • Distorted metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber connector pipe or factory-built metal chimney
  • Cracked or malformed flue tiles.
  • Discolored and/or damaged rain cap
  • Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney
  • Creosote flecks and pieces on the roof or ground
  • Roofing material broken from hot creosote
  • Fissures in exterior masonry
  • Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry.

 

Here are 5 tips for how to best keep your system safe and efficient:

  • Have a certified chimney sweep or city-paid building inspector look at your whole system.
  • Have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected.
  • Do everything you can to prevent water from entering the system. Water can cause damage to the structural integrity of your chimney and increase the odds of a chimney fire.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open and if you smell an odor, this could indicate a blockage in your chimney or excess creosote.
  • Learn as much as you can about creosote. This is a good place to start. And the Chimney Safety Institute of America also provides a great deal of useful information for homeowners.