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Solving Chimney Leaks

Water leaks are never a good thing. Water causes interior and exterior structural damage and fosters mold growth. When you live in an area with weather as extreme as West Central Colorado it is important to identify and repair chimney leaks as quickly as possible. Bulldog Chimney Sweeps provides the expertise needed to protect homeowners in the Hotchkiss, Colorado area since 1993.

According to The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), “All masonry chimney construction materials, except stone, will suffer accelerated deterioration as a result of prolonged contact with water. Masonry materials deteriorate quickly when exposed to the freeze/thaw process, in which moisture that has penetrated the materials periodically freezes and expands causing undue stress. Water in the chimney also causes rust in steel and cast iron, weakening or destroying the metal parts”.

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The CSIA website also explains the extent of the damage water can do including rusting, cracking your flue liners, ruining your central heating and cooling systems, rotting wood, and collapsing your chimney and hearth supports. CSIA warns, “In addition, when water mixes with creosote in a wood burning chimney system, it will generate a highly disagreeable odor that can permeate a home.”

If you haven’t caught your chimney leak in time and there is substantial damage either on the exterior or interior of your home, you must be aware of most insurance company’s position on paying water damage claims. Most insurance companies will not cover the claim if the cause of the damage is determined to be caused by poor maintenance. “If a water leak into your chimney occurs suddenly and without warning, it might meet the definition of unforeseen events that a typical homeowners’ policy will cover. If this happens, document your claim with photographs and other evidence showing the cause of the event — in most cases, a heavy storm or lightning strike. Contact a service professional with chimney experience to inspect the leak damage, diagnose the cause and write up an estimate of repairs”, cautions Tom Streissguth in his blog for Zacks.com.

Preventing water damage is one of the most important reasons to have an annual chimney inspection performed by a CSIA certified technician. A trained professional knows what to look for before you experience major damage. During the inspection, your technician will look at your chimney crown (chimney wash) to ensure it is sealed and is properly fit to channel water away from the flue. Your technician will also check for any eroded mortar that may allow water to seep in, and any damaged flashing. Furthermore, if you should have sudden damage, then you will have the documentation showing that you did your due diligence and took all precautions to protect the integrity of your home, You will have the inspection reports showing there were no issues found, or, if there were repairs needed you had them professionally repaired promptly.

We want to impress upon you the importance of having your chimney properly maintained by a trained professional. Your chimney is extremely important and yet vulnerable. If you live in West Central Colorado, call Bulldog to provide your inspection and make any repairs to avoid reoccurrences. If you aren’t in our service area, feel free to call us and we will provide you with someone in your area.