Why Water Is Your Chimney’s Biggest Enemy

Brick-and-mortar chimneys can withstand quite a bit of punishment and still keep on performing safely and efficiently. However, when water from rain and melting snow is allowed to get into the system, very serious problems are likely to start.

Bethesda Chimney of Montgomery County MD, and Northern VA, would like to explain why water is your chimney’s biggest enemy.

Water Damaged Chimney Masonry in Dupont Circle, Washington DCAreas of your chimney that water can affect

Water is an equal-opportunity destroyer where chimneys are concerned. Areas it can affect include:

• Chimney masonry
• Chimney liner
• Home building materials
• Chimney components

Let’s take a brief look at each of these areas.

Water and masonry damage

Bricks are porous and tend to absorb rain and water from melting snow. Over time, this moisture can begin to decay the bricks, causing them to become loose, develop cracks and let water into the chimney system. The mortar that holds the bricks together can also be damaged by water.

With ongoing brick spalling and mortar decay, a chimney can begin to lean dangerously to one side or collapse entirely.

Damage to the Flue Liner

Water Damaged Clay Flue Tiles in North Potomac, MD

Chimney liners, whether they’re made of clay tile, stainless steel or a poured-in-place compound, can be damaged by incoming water. This type of water damage often starts with a defective chimney cap.

Over time, a liner can split, crack or fall apart, leaving nearby materials of the home at risk of fire. A broken chimney liner will allow toxic flue gases, including deadly carbon monoxide, to leak into the air of your home.

Effects of water on the home

If water gets into the chimney through a damaged chimney cap, a broken chimney crown or warped chimney flashing, it can cause major damage to unseen areas of the home. Common problems include the rotting of walls, flooring, ceilings, beams and insulation.

Water Damaged Chimney in Leesburg, VA

Damage to the chimney’s masonry below the roof can also happen. Finally, a mold outbreak can start and not be detected until it’s widespread.

Chimney component damage

Water is a regular cause of damage to various chimney components, including:

Chimney cap: This component at the top of your chimney protects the flue from water and incoming debris.
Concrete chimney crown: The chimney crown seals off areas of the inner chimney outside the flue.
Chimney flashing: Flashing prevents water from entering the gap between the roof and the chimney.
Fireplace damper: This component must be in proper shape to allow the fireplace to draft correctly and safely.

How to beat the water enemy

As you can see, water can cause quite a few problems with a chimney structure and its components. Fortunately, there are ways to defeat this common chimney enemy. They are:

  1. Annual chimney inspections to spot early signs of problems
  2. Timely chimney repairs to fix issues before they become serious
  3. Chimney waterproofing to keep water from harming the masonry

Bethesda Chimney is ready to help with all your chimney needs. We know how to detect and repair water damage, and we know how to keep your chimney clean, safe and efficient all year long. Speak with a certified chimney specialist today at (301) 969-4444 or (703) 935-4444 or get in touch with our handy contact form. We serve Kensington MD, and Washington DC, along with Garrett Park MD, Arlington VA, Gaithersburg MD, Rockville MD, Centreville VA, and other local communities.

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