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What Are the Consequences of a Leaky Chimney?

What Are the Consequences of a Leaky Chimney?

A chimney leak might seem minor, but as we’ll show you, it’s anything but. Chimney leaks can lead to significant structural damage or result in fire hazards. Read on to find out what can happen if you ignore chimney leaks.

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Structural Damage

The most visible indication you have a leaky chimney is structural damage. Water infiltration erodes masonry, causing bricks to crack and mortar to crumble. Additionally, water can seep into the surrounding roof and walls, causing rot, mold growth, and wood deterioration. These issues aren’t just costly to repair; they compromise your home’s safety and stability.

Interior Damage

Leaky chimneys affect the outside of your home but can also cause significant interior damage. Water entering the chimney can damage walls and ceilings, causing paint to peel or wallpaper to warp. Over time, moisture causes plaster and drywall to deteriorate, which can be expensive to fix. In severe cases, water infiltration can damage electrical wiring and insulation, creating potential fire hazards.

Mold and Mildew

One of the worst things that can result from a leaky chimney is the growth of mold and mildew. Mold does more than make your home smell; it can be a severe health risk. According to the Centers For Disease Control, “Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, mold exposure can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes and skin.” Moreover, people with allergies have more intense reactions when exposed to mold. Like water damage, mold remediation can be costly.

Decreased Energy Efficiency

You may not realize it, but a leaky chimney can negatively impact your home’s energy efficiency. Water infiltration can damage the chimney liner and insulation, reducing their effectiveness. Additionally, a chimney damaged from water can create drafts, making it harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

Fire Hazards

While it might seem counterintuitive, a leaky chimney can increase the risk of a fire. As mentioned, water can damage the chimney liner, leading to cracks. Cracks in the flue liner can allow smoke and gasses to escape and ignite your home’s combustible materials like wood, leading to a fire.

Reduced Property Value

All the issues associated with a leaky chimney can significantly reduce your home’s property value. Structural damage, mold, and interior damage can make your home less appealing to potential homebuyers. Additionally, visible signs of damage are a red flag for inspectors, leading to further scrutiny and possibly losing out on a sale.

So, you see, a leaky chimney isn’t a minor issue. Its consequences can be far-reaching and costly. So, what can you do to prevent this?

How to Prevent Chimney Leaks

Inspect and Repair Flashing: The metal flashing around the chimney’s base where it meets the roof should be inspected regularly for signs of rust, damage, or separation.

Seal the Chimney Crown: The chimney crown sits atop the chimney that protects the flue. Cracks in the crown can allow water to get in, so it’s a good idea to seal cracks with a waterproof sealant.

Waterproof the Chimney: A waterproofing product applied to the chimneys exterior masonry can prevent water absorption.

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Install a Chimney Cap: A chimney cap prevents rain, snow, and debris from entering the chimney. It also keeps animals out, which can prevent blockages, resulting in poor airflow.

Schedule Annual Inspections and Maintenance: Finally, it’s crucial to have your chimney inspected and cleaned every year by a certified professional. During inspection, the technician will check for damage and recommend repairs to ensure your chimney is safe.

Call Anderson’s Chimney

Anderson’s Chimney is South Central PA’s full-service chimney and fireplace specialist. We’re certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute.

You can count on us whether you need chimney repairs, waterproofing, cleaning, or anything in between. Book your appointment today at (717)-975-3526 or click here.

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