The primary function of a chimney is to draw smoke and gases away from the burning fire and out of your home. Since it is exposed to the outside environment, it is important to keep it in good repair to prevent water leaks and wildlife intrusions. Damaged chimney caps can allow water inside of your chimney, which can slowly cause damage to the inside of your chimney. The joints that are between the liner tiles will continue to break down over time. This erosion will eventually let heat, gases, or creosote enter your home. Additionally, water will freeze and thaw, leading to expansion damage. A well-maintained chimney will prevent moisture from entering the top and causing problems.
Chimney flashing, or lack of it, is the major reason for calls about chimney water leaks that we receive. More often than not, the culprit is the chimney flashing the sheet metal that keeps the intersection between the chimney and roof watertight.
The flashing is sheet metal installed for the purpose of ensuring that the connection between the chimney and roof is watertight, but the effectiveness of flashing eventually expires. A leaky chimney can cause all sorts of problems which require costly repair. The best way to avoid moisture issues caused by flashing is to get an annual chimney inspection; every aspect of the chimney system is carefully inspected.
Chimney Flue Caps
Chimney caps (fireplace caps) are so important to have on every chimney flue. Chimney caps, sometimes called chimney toppers, have 3 major benefits including:
A chimney cap prevents water from entering the chimney anytime it rains
A chimney cap can stop downdrafts from entering the home which can cause your home to fill with smoke, especially in windy areas
When mesh netting is installed with the chimney cap, animals are prevented from entering the chimney. Birds are drawn to the warmth provided by a chimney and will build nests in uncapped chimneys, which causes serious clogging.
The chimney is constructed with motor joints to keep the structure in place. As years go by, the mortar joints can begin to decay and create voids in areas of your chimney such as in between the bricks. This is typically the result of exposure to the elements, including the freeze and thaw cycle.
If your chimneys brick are in good shape, repointing might be the best option for you. This option helps repair the appearance, as well as, the structure of your chimney. It also prevents further damage and moisture from entering between the bricks. This is what can ultimately lead to your chimney experiencing major structural damage to the point where it needs rebuilding.