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Leaking Chimney FAQ

Here in the San Diego area, talk of the coming El Nino is a very hot topic. Since this weather event will bring more rain to our area, it is very important to be sure your chimney is in good condition. Even a small chimney leak can lead to major problems when heavy rains are in the forecast. At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we take chimney leaks seriously for good reasons. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) claims that water is the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys because of the amount of damage it can do. Water penetration can deteriorate your chimney so badly that it could be in danger of collapsing. This is why it is essential to ensure your chimney has no leaks before the arrival of El Nino. We would like to tell you more about the signs and causes of chimney leaks as well as a preventive service we provide to keep water from leaking into your chimney.

What are the signs of a chimney leak?Leaking Chimney FAQ - Weststar Chimney Sweeps - San Diego CA

Sure signs of chimney leaks include peeling wallpaper, stains on the walls and ceilings, and dampness near your fireplace. You might even notice water standing in the bottom of your fireplace or stove. You can also see signs of chimney leaks on the exterior of your chimney. Cracked, broken, and missing bricks and pieces of mortar are the result of the damage of water penetration of your chimney. You may also notice rusting on your chimney cap or chase cover, and this also means water is leaking into your chimney.

What are the reasons behind chimney leaks?

Different things can cause chimney leaks. Most commonly, Weststar Chimney Sweeps finds chimney leaks that are caused by missing or damaged chimney caps. Cracked chimney crowns also lead to water penetration of a chimney. We have also found chimney leaks caused by damaged flashing systems and deteriorated bricks and mortar on the chimney structure. All of these problems can be solved by our CSIA-certified chimney technicians. We can install a new chimney cap to keep water, birds, and animals out of the chimney or repair cracks in chimney crowns. We can also repair damaged flashing and repoint bricks and mortar to replace the missing masonry materials.

How can Weststar Chimney Sweeps protect my chimney from water leaks?

We offer waterproofing services that can keep water from being absorbed into the bricks and mortar of your chimney. Using a formula that is 100% vapor permeable, we apply a layer of this formula to your entire chimney. Since this formula is vapor permeable, vapors and gases can still pass through the bricks and mortar and not become trapped within where they could cause even more damage. Waterproofing your chimney is an excellent way to prolong its life and to prevent water leaks from causing damage.

Ensure your chimney is in good condition before the arrival of El Nino. Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule a chimney inspection, especially if you have noticed the signs of water leaks.

By Mike O'Mara on December 29th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

Choosing the Best Chimney Cap to Prevent Water Leaks

One of your best defenses against water penetration and animal invasions of your chimney, a chimney cap sits on top of your chimney’s opening. With several different types of chimney caps available, how do you know which cap is the right fit for the flue of your chimney? At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we are experienced with fitting all types of chimney caps, even customized caps, and we know the importance of proper installation. We would like to tell you a bit about the different kinds of chimney caps and what you should know about selecting the right kind for your chimney to prevent damaging water leaks.


The main thing to consider when deciding which chimney cap is right for your chimney is the shape of your flue. Chimney caps come in different shapes to fit each type of flue. These shapes include:


Whether you have a clay, masonry, or metal flue, you can find a round chimney cap that can either attach the the outside of the flue or slip inside the flue. Round chimney caps are made from an assortment of materials including copper, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. Some round flue liners require chimney caps that must be inserted inside the chimney flue, such as round flexible flue liners and round solid pack flue liners.


The most commonly shaped flue, square and rectangular chimney caps can be attached to the flue, or, if you have a chimney crown, there are chimney caps in these sizes that can attach to the crown. Made from the same metals as the round chimney caps, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends you choose a chimney cap constructed from a sturdy, durable, and rust- and corrosion-resistant material to ensure a long-lasting cap. For chimney caps that attach to a chimney crown, you will need to choose from top mounted chimney caps.


Unless you have a custom-shaped oval chimney cap made for you by our technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, you will need to look at rectangular shaped chimney caps that will cover the exterior of your flue.. When you look inside this type of cap, you can see how the corner tabs or interior ledges will accommodate oval flues.

There are other considerations other than preventing water leaks to think about when choosing a chimney cap. These include:


To prevent animals from entering your chimney to take up a new residence and to keep sparks from flying out of your chimney and possibly starting a fire, your chimney cap should be equipped with wire mesh sides. Be sure the mesh openings are between ¾ to ½ inches in size to keep animals out, to contain large pieces of hot debris and ashes, and to allow toxic gases to escape.


You can now find top sealing chimney caps that do double duty as a protective cap and as a damper. Perfect for new home constructions and for older chimneys in need of numerous repairs, the damper is located on the cap. When it is sealed closed, the air loss from your home is reduced by 90%. When the damper is opened, the wire mesh on the chimney cap protects your chimney from invading animals and prevents stray sparks from exiting.

Want to know more about the different types of chimney caps? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today to talk to our expert staff about your many options.