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How to Know if You Have a Leaky Chimney

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Many homeowners may not recognize a problem with the chimney before there is substantial damage behind the scenes. Most homeowners don’t know the signs of a problem and the majority of the chimney system is out of sight. Many issues with the chimney system are only recognizable while a fire is lit. If you have a chimney leak, it may go days, weeks, or months unnoticed.

Obvious Signs of a Chimney Leak

By the time there are visible and obvious signs of a chimney leak, it’s impossible to know what type of hidden damage has occurred. If you find there are signs of a leak, call a chimney professional right away.

Dripping – If you hear or see dripping in the chimney system, there is likely a leak that has gone on long enough to cause damage.

Stains – Water stains can occur on the masonry and can show up in a variety of colors. White stains on the outside masonry is a result of efflorescence in which water passes through the masonry and leaves behind minerals on the outside. On the inside of the fireplace, water stains may be darkened parts of the brick or even green stains due to mold.

Leaks – A leak in any part of the house likely points to a chimney leak. If the chimney allows water in, it can run through floors and walls several rooms away before forming a leak. If you experience a leak, your first call should be to a chimney professional. A general contractor will most likely fix the damage without properly checking the chimney.

Not-so-Obvious Signs of a Chimney Leak

It is difficult, but if you know your system and understand how the chimney works, you can recognize a problem with the chimney system before there is serious damage. Pay attention to signs there is a problem.

A Drop in Efficiency – A drop in efficiency, whether sudden or gradual, is a problem. You have a problem if your fireplace isn’t burning as hot as it was, if it’s using more fuel than usual, or is more difficult to light or to keep burning. Determining that problem may be difficult, so try troubleshooting. If it doesn’t resolve your issue, it’s time to call a professional.

Odors – Odors can be so gradual that you don’t notice the change. If your fireplace begins to smell of mildew or mold, then you most likely have a serious chimney leak. This smell may be very obvious when the fire isn’t lit. The fireplace’s usage masks the smell of mildew and mold.

Smoky Fireplace – A smoky fireplace is also caused by a drop in efficiency. If your smoky chimney isn’t resolved by troubleshooting, you may have a leaky chimney.

Water Damage

A leaky chimney not only causes water damage to the chimney system, but also causes damage to the rest of the home, including walls, building materials, and more. This type of damage is 100 percent preventable.

Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online.