Water, not fire, causes most chimney damage
Chimney Safety Institute of America offers tips for home safety
INDIANAPOLIS – April showers may bring May flowers, but they also can bring something less beautiful: serious chimney damage.
Experts with CSIA say water creates more annual damage to chimneys each year when compared to fires, and the rainy spring season only exacerbates ongoing problems.
Whether masonry or factory-built, prolonged water exposure can result in cracks or gaps in chimneys where creosote can collect and increase the risk of fire or where noxious gases can escape into your home and expose your family to carbon monoxide.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
1. Rust stains: More particular to factory-built fireplaces, rust is a critical red flag that water is accessing your chimney and threatening the integrity of the structure. Rust stains could reveal themselves around the outside of the upper chimney, or along the inner lining of the fireplace.
“Rust stains in the fireplace area are of serious concern. Like the tip of an iceberg, by the time you see the evidence down in the fireplace, water damage to the damper or upper chimney structure is likely very critical,” says Ashley Eldridge, the CSIA Director of Education.
2. Dripping or standing water: This may seem obvious, but water pooling anywhere in or around your masonry or factory-built chimney and fireplace structure means water has an access point to your home.
3. Bent or damaged flashing: The metal materials used to help seal your chimney from rooftop water runoff must be flush to the chimney structure. Flashing, crickets or other devices can warp or otherwise separate from the chimney over time, exposing your structure to water.
WHAT TO DO
1. Use a chimney cap: Sometimes called a rain cover, a chimney cap works to protect your chimney the way your roof works to protect your house. Water has direct access to your home when a rain cover is not installed on your chimney.
2. Apply waterproofing agents: Particular to masonry chimneys, adding a vapor-permeable waterproofing agent to you chimney’s interior lets moisture escape, but prevents it from coming in. Be sure to never use paint or any non-vapor-permeable water sealer because it will trap moisture inside the chimney, hastening deterioration.
3. Call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep: To perform the recommended jobs above or any other repair work on a leaky chimney, CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps are the industry’s professional standard. Find a local sweep at csia.org/search.
Interested media can schedule an interview or secure more information through Andrew Hayenga at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-519-3334.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to chimney and venting system safety. CSIA is committed to the elimination of residential chimney fires, carbon monoxide intrusion and other chimney-related hazards that result in the loss of lives and property. To achieve these goals, CSIA devotes its resources to educating the public, chimney and venting professionals and other fire prevention specialists about the prevention and correction of chimney and venting system hazards.