Despite doing a simple job of directing all the smoke away from your house, it consists of several elements, which need to work together as a unit. Any problems you face when one component isn’t functioning well is noticeable.
One issue that is common among all household owners with a fireplace is the presence of water. If you don’t take appropriate action, the situation will continue to worsen. However, it can be difficult to understand what the best solution in this circumstance is.
Should you try to fix the problem by yourself or get in touch with a professional chimney repair service company? Below is a simple guide which will help you understand the dangers of water in your fireplace, along with what you should do.
Why water in your fireplace isn’t good
One question you will have on your mind is why you should bother with the presence of water in the fireplace. What will happen if you don’t try to resolve this issue as soon as possible?
Damage to Mortar and Brick Spalling
When your chimney suffers from constant exposure to water, it causes a significant problem. Over time, the moisture will start to seep through the materials and the water will freeze once the temperature drops. As a result, all the masonry will suffer from chipping or becoming flakes, which contributes to significant deterioration over time.
As water expands, it becomes harder for the bricks to stay intact, and they start to break off from the chimney. If you don’t take the necessary action, this structure will face significant damage. It is a phenomenon known as spalling, which will destroy most of the masonry materials in the chimney.
Deterioration of Chimney Flue Liner
The chimney flue liner won’t last long, due to the presence of water in the fireplace. Most households use clay as the primary material for this layer. However, due to the presence of high levels of moisture, cracks will start to form in the chimney flue liner.
The purpose of the flue is to prevent harmful products such as carbon monoxide, along with smoke from entering your household. They are the by-products of combustion, which needs to go out via the chimney. If they are present in your home, you and your family are in danger of suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ceilings and Wall Stains
It’s clear water in the fireplace isn’t good for the chimney because of the problems highlighted. However, most people don’t realize how moisture in the masonry materials will affect the surrounding areas of your home.
The ceiling and the walls will start to become damp and over time, they will create stains, ruining the aesthetics of your home. Also, mold will start to grow and can cause a lot of health problems for you and your family members.
Another significant issue you will face with water damage is it increases the risk of the chimney collapsing. Also, if you have any accessories or firebox assemblies in the fireplace, they will start to rust. Due to the presence of water, it mixes with creosote, generating a strange and unpleasant odor.
The glass doors you installed will become weaker with the presence of high levels of moisture in the chimney and any wood items close to these areas will start to rot, adding to the list of things you need to replace.
What should you do when there is water in the fireplace?
Most people wouldn’t mind the presence of water in the fireplace after heavy rains and tend to assume it is common. However, from the problems highlighted above, it is clear that this isn’t a good practice.
You should never wait when there is water in the fireplace since it can cause significant damage as time goes on. If you wait, you will have to shell out more money to make the necessary repairs.
It’s crystal clear that your chimney has an issue, due to which water entered the fireplace. Don’t waste any time and get in touch with a professional chimney repair company as soon as possible.
How to prevent water from entering your fireplace?
Once you are aware of the problems of water in the fireplace, you want to know how you can take the necessary steps to ensure you don’t suffer from these issues. After all, prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to chimneys. Fixing issues after they become a problem will be a huge strain on your finances.
What should you do when there is water in the fireplace?
Avoid power washing the chimney
It is common practice for homeowners to clean the exterior of the chimney with a power washer. However, this isn’t good and would reduce the lifespan of the chimney. Over time, the high pressure will cause cracks to appear on the surface of masonry material. Also, if you applied a waterproof coating, it will remove this layer, increasing the chances of moisture entering the chimney. If you need to clean this area, make sure you use a hose which generates low pressure.
Install Chimney Cap
Known as rain covers, chimney caps are crucial to the safety of your fireplace. They are one of the cheapest investments you can make to prevent water from entering the chimney. Every professional chimney repair and maintenance company will ask you to install one in your household.
It also comes with other advantages, such as preventing animals from creating nests in your chimney. They stop sparks from landing on your rooftop, bringing down the chances of starting a fire by accident.
Make sure the chimney cap you use for your household is easy to remove, so that cleaning and inspection will become a seamless task. The one you choose should use corrosion-resistant, durable, and strong materials, which can last a long time. If you need to get a chimney cap for complete coverage, the cost goes up. Remember that this is a small price you have to pay to protect the chimney and the fireplace.
The best option that you can do is get in touch with a CSIA certified professional chimney repair company. You can ask them to conduct regular (we recommend annually) preventive maintenance checks on your fireplace, to ensure everything is working properly. They have the expertise to detect minor issues, which become major problems in the future. The advantage is that they will ask you to make the necessary repairs, to avoid facing significant complications.
You should ask the professional chimney repair and maintenance company to take a look at your fireplace every year. However, increase the frequency of checks, depending on how often you use the chimney in your household.
Use waterproof sealants
Another solution would be to waterproof all the masonry materials in the fireplace. The professional chimney repair and maintenance company will apply special sealants. These products will make sure that the water doesn’t penetrate the materials. At the same time, it ensures the masonry walls remain semi-porous, ensuring your chimney can breathe at all times.
Even if water can enter the fireplace, they will leave your household, without penetrating through the masonry materials. Keep in mind that this is a preventive technique, so you need to fix any problems before you apply this type of coating. While there are several products you can use in the market, always ask the professional chimney repair and maintenance company for help. They will use the best materials in the industry, while giving you a warranty for their services.
Avoid using clear sealers or paint as waterproof agents since they won’t allow the moisture to escape. As a result, it will cause the material to deteriorate, making it a significant problem.
The only downside with waterproof sealants is that its performance starts to deteriorate with time. To get the best results, you should make sure that you reapply this coating at least once in five years.
If your fireplace has water, you need to get in touch with Patriot Chimney as soon as possible. We are certified technicians who have the expertise to examine your chimney for potential problems and we will fix the source of the issue to ensure you don’t face the same problem again.
If you have any questions regarding water in your fireplace leave a comment below to resolve them as soon as possible!