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The Dangers of Chimney Leaks

Warning! Warning! Warning!

Chimney leaks could mean big trouble or they could just be a danger sign that minor repairs need to be done to avoid trouble. How do you know whether you need to panic or just take a deep breath? If you live in the Des Moines, Iowa area you probably won’t know until you call Top Notch Chimney Sweep & Services for a complete inspection to locate the source of your chimney leak(s). Once you call Top Notch, you can begin to breathe normally again, because you are in the hands of a trusted chimney professional with technicians who are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the country’s eminent chimney authority.


Leaky chimneys can cause many problems for homeowners. As with all leaking water, the moisture will cause mold, which can cause an array of health hazards. Water leaks can also cause physical damage ranging from cosmetic to extensive deterioration the structure of your home. The damage of chimney leaks can be observed on the exterior of your home, the interior, both or neither. Without the experience of a chimney professional, you may not even be aware of the leaks until the damage is already done. Therefore, the objective of your CSIA certified chimney technician is to catch any potential leaks early and prevent the damage from occurring.
Leaks originating in your chimney can be due to several causes including, but not limited to:

  • Cracks in the masonry
  • Cracks in the flashing
  • Cracks in the chimney crown
  • No chimney cover
  • Blocked flue vents
  • Damage shingles or bricks

The chimney technician will do a visual inspection and perform a series of diagnostic tests to locate the source of your chimney leak. Once the problem is located the technician will discuss the best repair option for you to fix the problem and prevent its re- occurrence.

We’ve seen firsthand (read “been called to undo and fix properly”) the problems associated when overzealous homeowners tried to correct chimney leaks themselves. Climbing a ladder and getting on your roof is a hazard in itself. Locating the source of the leaks can be tricky as the water may be being diverted from the actual source of the leak. Worst yet, is when the homeowner goes to their local home improvement store and gets waterproofing sealant and starts applying it everywhere “just to be sure”. If the source of the problem isn’t first corrected and allowed to dry before adding the waterproofing product, adding waterproofing just seals in the moisture which invites the mold to start/continue growing and causes continued deterioration of the structures. And, the ultimate risk is when homeowners (unbeknownst to them) actually seal and trap the toxic gasses from their fuel burning appliances inside their home by improperly using the sealant. In their halfhearted attempts to seal the water leaks, these DIYers have interrupted the deliberate and important air flow needed for the poisonous gasses to escape and have created scary fire and health hazards.

Seriously folks, when it comes to preserving the integrity of your home and the safety and health of you and your family, trying to fix leaking chimneys should be left to the professionals. Your chimney professional has state-of-the-art tools and the technology to conduct intricate inspections, they have commercial grade materials to correct and repair the problems, and the expertise to do a thorough job that will be long lasting.

Prevention is the best cure, and that’s why the CSIA recommends a yearly chimney cleaning and inspection. If you are in the Des Moines area, be sure to call Top Notch, if you are not in our service area, click here for a CSIA chimney professional in your area.

We’re Proud To Serve Ames, Iowa

There are four distinct seasons in Ames and there are four distinct reasons why Top Notch Chimney Service is proud to be able to serve those who live in here. The people, the location, the history, and the quality of life are what make living and working in Ames a wonderful experience, and why Ames is so special to us.

The residents of Ames are hardworking, studious, fun-loving, and family oriented people who enjoy all that Ames has to offer. In 2010 Ames was voted as the 9th Best Place to Live in the U.S. by and continues to thrive and provide a rock solid foundation to raise a family and earn a living. Ames attracts international businesses such as 3M and Barilla. Iowa State University(ISU) is located in Ames and there is a strong emphasis placed on quality education beginning with kindergarten and continuing all the way through advanced college degree programs.


Residents of Ames enjoy the four seasons and all that each season brings in the way of sports, outdoor activities, and climate. From a health care perspective, Ames attracts the finest health care professions so residents of Ames and the surrounding communities not only have a place for quality medical care, but between the medical facilities, university, Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, and private businesses, the employment opportunities are numerous and diverse at all skill levels.

Ames is in the central part of Iowa in Story County and about 30 miles north of Des Moines. The temperature usually runs from the teens to 30s and 40s in the colder months and highs in the 80s during the summer months. The South Skunk River and Squaw Creek run through Ames and are home to small and largemouth bass, gar, walleye, and bluegill which delight fisherman and draw naturalists from the university as well as throughout the area.

The area was founded in 1864 as a railroad station by Cynthia Olive Duff and John Insley Blair. By 1870 the population was just over 600 and has continued to grow ever since with current population estimates over 62,000.

Another strong contributor to the valued quality of life in Ames are all the fun activities available. If you like live performances, ISU offers everything from theatrical performances to sporting events to unique museums. The Brunner Art Museum and Textile and Clothing Museum offer traveling and permanent collections and exhibits. The Alluvial Brewing Company, Torrent Brewing, and the Prairie Moon Winery and Vineyards are favorites. The Reiman Gardens attract tourists and residents alike with their art, architecture, plants and insect collections. The Octagon Center for the Arts is a community gem. There is an art gallery, exhibits, workshops and classes and workshops for beginning and advanced arts of all ages. The Octagon Art Festival, held at the end of September, has been attracting artists, visitors, and shoppers since 1970.

The entire team at Top Notch Chimney Masonry & Chimney knows how important it is to preserve the quality of life residents of Ames enjoy. That’s why we are committed to providing unparalleled customer service and expert craftsmanship with every contact you have with us. We love Ames!

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