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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.

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