Having a fireplace in your house means a chimney is a must. While chimneys help toxic gasses escape, it is often rainwater that finds its way in. Although, it is a rare occurrence but not impossible. So, if you are experiencing a similar situation, here are a few tips along with some chimney inspection tips and fixes to prevent such a situation in the future.
Determine The Root Cause Of The Problem
The first thing you need to do when it comes to rain coming down from the chimney is determine the root cause of the problem. The reason is as mentioned earlier, it is a rare situation. It might be that you underwent a serious rainstorm and the water was supposed to find its way down the chimney.
In this case, it does not necessarily mean there is a defect. If the amount of water coming down on your house is significant, do not be surprised if your chimney is not able to hold it back. However, if you find water in your fireplace on a regular basis, it means there is a problem with the chimney that needs to be fixed.
The good news is that fixing a leaking chimney is easy and straightforward. If you cannot do it yourself, you will need to hire an expert. Fixing the chimney should not take more than a few hours depending on the repairs and replacement.
Observe The Signs & Symptoms
While you may be lucky enough to find a huge puddle of water pointing to a leakage, in some cases the signs are so subtle that it becomes hard to spot. For instance, you might observe stained walls, condensation, and musty odors.
Even though these are minor signs but tell a lot about a chimney needing repairs. For instance, if you find large puddles of water in the base of your chimney, it means your chimney’s structure is damaged. You will need to schedule a chimney inspection as soon as possible.
Moving on, if you hear the sound of dripping water, it means the chimney is letting the rainwater come in. This issue is more likely to occur during a short burst of rain, so keep an eye out when the storm has passed.
If the water dripping does not stop having hours passed by, it means the chimney has a cracked flue or stack.
Finally, condensation, musty odors, and stained walls are all tell-tale signs that there is something wrong with your chimney. To check condensation, you will need to use a damp moisture meter. This will help you identify the weak parts of the chimney.
Furthermore, musty odors mean the water has been coming into your chimney for a while and is not evaporating. It could be that the chimney flue liner is damaged. At the same time, you might observe stained walls as well. A combination of musty odors and stained walls surely means your chimney needs to be checked.
How To Stop Rain From Coming Down Your Chimney?
Now that we have discussed the signs & symptoms of a leaking chimney, let’s talk about how you can stop the rain from coming down.
First, you can try installing a chimney cowl. This is the easiest, quickest, and most cost-effective way to prevent rain from penetrating your chimney. Also known as the rain caps, these items offer an additional mini-roof to keep the rainwater at bay by preventing the rainwater from coming down directly into the chimney cavity.
Next, you should check the chimney pot. If it’s damaged, you should replace it with a new one. A chimney pot not only improves the functioning of the chimney but also narrows the opening of the chimney preventing rainwater from entering.
How To Fix Chimney Leaks?
Chimneys are made to last several years if the job is done by a professional. However, due to external factors such as extreme weather conditions, your chimney may experience some damage leaking to leaks. Even if that is not the case, chimney components are supposed to weaken over time, compromising the structure.
To begin with, you can try inspecting the chimney stack. If you find it to be the source of the leakage, you will need to call chimney contractors Columbia MD as soon as possible. Your chimney will need some extensive repairs and might be irreparable if you prolong the issue, leading to building a new chimney from scratch.
Next, check the chimney flue liner. Then again, you will need to call in the professionals, especially if you have an older-class chimney. If the chimney flue liner is faulty, replace it with a flexible steel chimney flue liner.
How To Prevent Chimney Leaks From Recurring?
Once you have managed to stop rainwater from coming down your chimney, you are going to prevent the same situation from happening in the future. For that, you will need to ensure your chimney receives professional maintenance and inspections.
In the meantime, you should inspect your chimney on a weekly or monthly basis, especially after a huge rain or thunderstorm. This will help you spot any damages and fix them before they impact other components, particularly the structure.
Do Chimneys Require Maintenance?
Chimneys like many other household appliances require maintenance. If you live in a region where chimney usage is little to zero in the winter, you will need to cover it up. In most cases, the chimneys are left open and birds, insects, and other intruders tend to take up the accommodation.
In addition to that, fireplaces produce soot as a byproduct of burning wood. This soot buildup needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent accumulation. If the accumulation is ignored, the soot turns extremely hard and is not easy to remove. In this case, you will need to call in a professional.
Can I Clean The Chimney Myself?
To avoid labor costs, most homeowners prefer cleaning and maintaining the chimneys themselves. However, you will be needing special tools, chemicals, equipment, and skills to do the job. On top of that, cleaning the chimney also carries risks.
That said, you should make sure to protect yourself by wearing gloves, goggles, and a mask to prevent your body parts from being exposed. At the same time, you will need to thoroughly inspect the chimney and clean it accordingly. It might be that hard soot buildup lands on your head and causes injury. If possible, ask a family member or a friend for a helping hand. But the best way to clean the chimney is by letting experts do it with the right equipment and techniques.
Moreover, during chimney cleaning, they may detect some problems and suggest you further inspection or fixes. In short, they will spot a problem that could become bigger and cost you money.
In the end, rain coming down your chimney can be fixed following a few steps. However, there is no need to panic. Countries that experience heavy rainfalls throughout the year find it normal to have minor chimney leakages. But keep in mind that you should consult chimney cleaning services Ellicott City and fix the issue as soon as you spot unusual signs & symptoms.