Our Company Blog

Common Causes of Chimney Leaks

So you think you have a chimney leak? You may see a leak—in your fireplace itself or in another part of the house. You may hear dripping in an unseen portion of your chimney. Perhaps you haven’t found any evidence of a leak at all but smell musty odors coming from your fireplace this summer. You’re right! These are all indications that you have a chimney leak, but what has caused it? Where is the water coming from?

You may be tempted to call a roofer or general contractor when you suspect a leak in the house, but when you own a home with a chimney system, call the chimney expert first. Your chimney leak is more than likely the cause of your house leak. We’ll help you figure out what’s causing the chimney leak.

Diagnosing a Chimney Leak

chimneys on roofsWe get calls about chimney leaks year-round, but none more than the spring and summer. During this time of year, when the fireplace is out of use, homeowners notice things they usually don’t. When you notice something is “off” about your chimney and suspect a leak, it’s time to call in the chimney professionals. At Chief Chimney Services, we can diagnose a leaky chimney in one appointment, usually without tools and without fuss.


The first thing we check when diagnosing a leaky chimney is the flashing because it is the most common cause of chimney leaks. The flashing is made up of many thin sheets of metal that are placed strategically around the base of the chimney. The intersection of the roof and chimney is the most vulnerable part of the system. If the flashing isn’t installed properly, there is no way to prevent a chimney leak.

It’s important to have your flashing installed by a chimney professional. Can a general contractor or roofer install flashing properly? We hope so, but we can’t guarantee it. Chimney experts are extensively trained and experienced in flashing installation. We install flashing properly and leave no exposed nails. It requires no sealant or roofing tar of any kind.


The chimney crown can become damaged over time due to weather and sun exposure. Unfortunately, crowns often become damaged prematurely when they aren’t constructed properly. Our team at Chief Chimney Services can repair a damaged crown with a special industrial product designed to close gaps and cracks and restore the surface of the crown completely. For severe crown damage, we can construct a new crown to proper specifications for the best protection.

Chimney Cap

Another common cause of chimney leaks is the chimney cap. It could be damaged or missing, and water is allowed directly into the flue opening. We sell and install quality caps to protect your chimney system from water and animal intrusion. If you want complete protection, especially during the offseason, you can opt for a top-sealing damper instead of a cap. This damper closes with an airtight seal and protects your flue like nothing before.

If you have a chimney leak, it’s one of three things: the flashing, the crown, or the cap. In some cases, masonry damage may lead to a leak, and we can help determine if that is the case when you schedule with us.

By John Pilger on August 29th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Common Causes of Chimney Leaks

Chimney Leaks and Water Damage

There’s almost nothing worse for a chimney than water penetration. A small crack and tiny amount of water can become hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of damage. Consequently, this is over just one burn season. This is because the freeze/thaw process that water experiences widens cracks in the masonry.  Shifting bricks, a weakening mortar, and making way for even more water to enter is just some of what you can expect.

Chimney Leaks and Water Damage - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney ServiceWater and Masonry

Masonry is constructed of a variety of materials, all of which are adversely affected by water. Brick, mortar, concrete, stone, flue tile, steel, and cast iron all deteriorate. In addition, they become altered when they come into direct contact with water, or are penetrated with water.

Once water is inside the masonry it can cause a host of issues including:

  • Rusted damper assemblies, fireplace accessories, and glass doors
  • Deteriorated metal or masonry firebox assemblies, central heating system, and flue lining system
  • Rotting adjacent wood and ruined wall coverings and ceilings
  • Water stained walls, ceiling, and chimney exterior
  • Clogged clean-out area
  • Decayed exterior mortar and collapsed hearth support
  • Tilted chimney structure and chimney settlement

This type of damage is solely caused by chimney leaks and can be prevented.

Diagnosing Your Chimney Leak

The damage caused by water penetration isn’t noticeable right away. In fact, by the time these things are noticed, there is extensive damage unseen to the homeowner’s eye.

Three signs that mean you may have a leaky chimney include:

  1.  A stinky chimney, especially one that smells musty is cause from a leaky chimney.
  2.  Less efficiency is generally caused because of an issue such as a chimney leak. Water causes parts to work incorrectly as well as the draft is less effective.
  3.  Stains on interior and exterior masonry means that water is causing discoloration and the mortar has been penetrated.
  4.  Leaks and stains on interior of the house including walls and ceilings. The walls and ceilings don’t even have to be near the chimney because water runs to the lowest place, and then leaks through the weakest portion of ceiling or wall. Water can run several feet or rooms away from the chimney leak itself before physically leaking through the ceiling materials.

Let the Chimney Professionals Repair Your Leaky Chimney

The most common causes of chimney leaks are relatively easy fixes. These include chimney cap repair or installation, replacing or sealing the chimney crown, and repairing or replacing the chimney flashing. All of these things work to keep water out, but none of them are permanent solutions. The best way to insure your chimney is properly waterproofed is to schedule your annual chimney inspection with Chief Chimney today. For the safety of your family and the longevity of your chimney system, it’s vital that you have your chimney waterproofed by a professional.

To learn more about waterproofing services, contact Chief Chimney Services today at 631-863-2460 or request an appointment online.

By John Pilger on November 10th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Chimney Leaks and Water Damage

FAQ: Why Fix a Leaky Chimney?

You wouldn’t second-guess a roof repair when you find a leak. Rain buckets are never a compliment to home decor, and there is the urgency of water damage to worry about.

A chimney leak is just as urgent as a roof leak, if not more. Your chimney works in a very specific way and is built to properly ventilate the home and protect from life-threatening gas accumulation. Even if your chimney doesn’t have a visible leak, a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) should discover it during your regular chimney sweep or annual chimney inspection. An experienced and certified chimney sweep will not only find the leak, but detect the damage and provide a detailed report and recommendations.


Why a Leaky Chimney is a Big DealThe Importance of Good Chimney Flashing - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney

Water intrusion not only wreaks havoc on a masonry chimney, but also can cause unpleasant odors in your home, and raise the risk of flue fire. Fixing a leaky chimney now can prevent a high-cost repair later.

Masonry does not withstand water penetration. A small crack leads to a larger crack, and more damage follows when water continually freezes and thaws, expanding the spaces in the masonry. When this water enters the chimney’s interior it has access to the working parts of the chimney system, constructed of steel and cast iron. The water causes rust damage, destroying the metal parts.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) warns homeowners that water penetration can cause interior and exterior damage to your home and masonry chimney including:

  •  Rusted damper assemblies
  •  Deteriorated metal or masonry firebox assemblies
  •  Rusted fireplace accessories and glass doors
  •  Rotting adjacent wood and ruined wall coverings
  •  Water stained walls and ceiling
  •  Clogged clean out area
  •  Deteriorated central heating system
  •  Stained chimney exterior
  •  Decayed exterior mortar
  • Cracked or deteriorated flue lining system
  • Collapsed hearth support
  • Tilted or collapsed chimney structure
  • Chimney settlement

An Ounce of Prevention

The famed Benjamin Franklin quote applies to your chimney: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

We at Chief Chimney Services are experienced and able to repair your leaky chimney. We can repair, replace, and rebuild any part of your chimney if needed. However, we believe that preventing water damage is an essential part of chimney maintenance, and we proudly offer chimney waterproofing services.

ChimneySaver water-repellant products  are designed and tested for chimney application. It is no ordinary sealant, and should only be applied by a professional. ChimneySaver water-repellent products are designed specifically to keep water out, while allowing vapors and air molecules to escape.

Other products that Chief Chimney Services recommends, installs, and services are chimney caps and chimney flashing. The chimney cap keeps water from entering the chimney opening, while allowing smoke and gases to escape. Flashing directs rain water away from the chimney and down the roof.

As a homeowner you don’t want to find out you have a leaky chimney after the damage is done. Hire a professional to waterproof your chimney now, and remember to schedule your routine chimney sweepings and inspections. Contact Chief Chimney Services today!

By John Pilger on April 8th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on FAQ: Why Fix a Leaky Chimney?