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Advice for locating leaks in chimney

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by PutnamJct, Aug 3, 2006.

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  1. PutnamJct

    PutnamJct Member

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    Well, we are getting an absolute deluge of rain while I type this. Most I have seen come down at once in a long long time. Suffice it to say, I now have water coming into at least 2 places, maybe more.......
    I have a pellet insert in a brick frireplace that is on the end of the house, probably 35 to 40 years old at least.

    Leak # 1:

    Rain is dripping pretty steadily into the firebox behind the insert (I can see it when I open the side access door on the stove.) Without being able to see the flue area I am guessing it is coming straight down from the crown area?
    I have one of those cages on top of the chimney to keep the birds out

    Leak # 2:

    water is slowly running down the brick face of the mantel area next to the stove.

    When it stops pouring, do you guys suspect flashing around the chimney? Leaky Crown? Both or something else?

    Thanks All!

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  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    How is the chimney lined? Do you have a top plate installed? The water coming down the face is more than likely flashing.
  3. Michael6268

    Michael6268 Feeling the Heat

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    Any water coming down the face can almost surely be linked to the flashing..... My guess on the firebox would be a small gap where the pipe exits the flue (if it is lined to the top). Water is probably wicking its way right down the side of the pipe. I would think if it were the crown, it wouldnt be making it in that fast, as it sound like it hasnt been raining there that long.......
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Does it leak at other times? How bad?

    This may be something folks don't to hear, but there are certain storms that can cause leaks - even when everything is OK. For instance, pelting rain can throw water up into the cap or under the storm collar - and then down the pipe and out the tee.

    Same with certain flashings.

    In other words, there are certain situations that are unfixable - but you can improve upon them!
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    This thread brings up something I have on my hands right now. The crown on my two flue masonry chimney has about had it. Typical thing, the guy used mortar. What I am not going to get done this year (lining two flues, replacing the stove, dishwasher and range top micro, whacking wood and on and on is eating all of the time) is re-crowning the thing. What would be a best suggestion for patching the cracks/edges/around the tiles to get me through this winter?

    I am leaning toward a trip up there with a caulking gun.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I think silicone caulk would do a good temp job.
    If you want to go a bit further, get some of that watery cement waterproofing stuff at the hardware or paint store and splash it on after you caulk - it will seal the tiny cracks.
  7. PutnamJct

    PutnamJct Member

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    It is outside of the roof (not through)
    I think so. Looking at the house from outside, it is like they cut a hole in the side of the house and put the chimney up against it, it is not flush with the walls. Does that make sense?
    The chimney has the (clay?) liner all the way to the top. It has a cap on it (black metal cage type). When the pellet stove was installed, they ran the flex metal up the chimney.

    The roof is only about 7 feet high on the fireplace end of the house (chimney itself must be 15' high or more) but slants up to include a second floor at the opposite end of the house. There is no attic, on the low end where the fireplace is. I'll try to snap a few pics tomorrow.
    Now that it stopped raining I went out for a quick look see. The flashing on the 1 side doesn't look like it was done right, I read one of the other threads here discussing how the flashing should be cut into the mortar. This is all funky looking, with a couple of pieces overlapping, a nail sticking out and sloppy silicone hanging out of it.

    The crown is all flakey with a few cracks in it and a loose brick on the corner. The whole chimney looks to need re-pointed too. Uggh!

    Thank you for the info/ideas so far, keep em coming.

    John
  8. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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  9. PutnamJct

    PutnamJct Member

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    I finally got time to take some pics of my "flashing" job that I inherited from the prvious owner. I am re-doing the crown this afternoon, the mortar up there was shot.
    Heres the pics:
    http://www.johnanastasio.com/chimney/
    Where to start?
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    The criket is not high enough to deflect the water properly away. the shingles look to be near the end of their usefull life spand
    Pretty hard to repair a leak with failing shingles The leak could be in the cricket valley Run towards the chiimney and enter the chimney making one believe it is a flashing leak. That single wide piece what da is with that? If the original flashing and counter flashing is not installed and woven correctly, I doubt the larger piece does a damn thing that entire area should be stripped out to beyond two full shingles and redone new, taking care to weave and conter flash them in as necessary. I would install ice and watter barrier itn the cricket valley and completely over that existing cricket. George is right about the back corner and the cricket valley if that piece is not overlapping the corner you need to have new lead flashing installed correctly.

    Final note you bricks look to be quite pouris and probably should be waterproofed and sealed. If it rains hard and long enough bricks can absorb enough water and leak

    And I agree with Berlin about the motar joints but I do not believe that has anything to do with the leaking
  11. berlin

    berlin New Member

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    it pains me to see that type of mortar joint in exterior brickwork, when will people learn; that chimney will die a premature death.
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