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Chimney Water Damage & What To Do

Water damage is the leading cause of chimney damage, and it can happen at any time. Chimneys are in a state of deterioration every day, they are exposed to the weather from all sides. When water gets into the chimney structure, it acts fast. The sooner you address water damage, the better. At Valley Chimney, we can help you determine if you have a water problem in your chimney and what your next steps should be.

Identifying Water Damage In Your Chimney

There are three important things to do when trying to identify water damage in your chimney. It’s important to listen, look and follow your nose when looking for water damage. If you suspect you might have water damage in your chimney, take action right away; you don’t want to wait around to take care of the problem.

Listen – Homeowners can usually hear a dripping sound in their chimneys, but they can’t see the water. Usually, this is the water dripping on the damper or the metal firebox.

Look – There are always visible signs of water damage to keep an eye out for, like streaks on the back of the fireplace, or a white film on the brick. You can even determine fire damage on the outside of your home by seeing if chunks of mortar are missing or pieces of brick are laying on your patio, driveway or roof. It’s important to check for cracks periodically because you never know when a crack will appear. If you see a crack in the brick or chimney, take immediate action because they’ll only get worse if they aren’t filled or repaired by a professional chimney sweep company. If the cracks aren’t fixed right away or soon after they appear, they can lead to structural and safety issues, causing more problems down the road.

Follow Your Nose – Sometimes you can’t hear or see water in your chimney, but you can smell it usually. If there’s just been a big rainstorm in your area, and you notice a bit of a bad smell after it, that could mean water is getting into your chimney and mixing with the creosote that’s in there.

Chimney Flashing & Water Damage

Water damage can be caused by flashing, flashing is essentially the sheet metal installed at the base of your chimney where it exits the roof. You may notice other visible signs of water damage including:

  • Water stains on your chimney close to the ceiling
  • Water dripping right along the front face of the fireplace – not near the back, but near the front brick.
  • Buckled shingles that are no longer flat and tight up near the flashing
  • Flashing that has pulled away from the chimney

Valley Chimney can help fix flashing leaks, we take care of all kinds of chimney leaks, including flashing-related leaks. Waterproofing your chimney can also help protect your chimney from water damage. It’s a great way to prolong the life of the brickwork and is a great way to minimize damage from the harsh Illinois weather. Although waterproofing your chimney is a great preventative measure to take, it can ‘save’ a chimney in its current state or condition. It’s important to consult a chimney professional to determine if waterproofing your chimney is the best option.

Is Water Damage Preventable?

While water damage isn’t necessarily 100% preventable, there are some precautions you can take. The most important thing you can do for your chimney is to have an outside mounted chimney cap. The caps cover the chimney flue and crown from all of the Earth elements. You can also waterproof the brickwork of the chimney with ChimneySaver, it’s a water-based repellant to prevent moisture from a variety of sources in masonry and concrete fireplaces.

The second way you can help prevent water damage is to schedule annual inspections and have your chimney regularly checked for cracks. It’s important to remember that a lot of chimney damage starts small, but once the crack is there and over time it can become a bigger problem. Cracks will only grow and the bigger they get the more problems they can cause over time.

Water damage is an important thing to look out for when it comes to your chimney. It’s important to know what steps to take, how to identify it and prevent it from happening. Valley Chimney Sweep & Restoration can help you with this, by inspecting your chimney and home for any damage. Contact us to schedule your appointment today!

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“Fantastic service by Terry and his team. I have a wood burning/gas fireplace that needed cleaning and to check for animals that I had heard near the chimney. They did a thorough cleaning (and kept the house clean while doing it!) and found no evidence of animal activity. Terry showed me that the previous owners had tapped into the gas line incorrectly and had used copper pipe for the gas to the fireplace. They removed (at my request) all gas components and the fireplace is now safe and set for wood burning (I can have it changed back to gas in a safe manner later). I'm very grateful that they found and fixed the possibly dangerous situation and did a wonderful job on everything else. I highly recommend Valley Chimney!”

‐ Diane R.

Geneva, IL

8940 B Route 34
Yorkville, IL 60560

(630) 553-5995


Service over 40,000 clients across the western suburbs of Chicago