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How To Spot A Leaky Chimney

When you examine the structure of your chimney, it may seem like it could resist just about anything. They are definitely built to withstand a lot. However, that does not mean you can skimp out on regular maintenance and yearly inspections. One of the worst issues you can deal with is leaks and water damage. Water is highly detrimental to the health of your brickwork, so spotting leaks before they get worse is important!How to Spot a Leaky Chimney - Tullahoma TN - A1 Chimney Specialist

Learn more about spotting and preventing leaks below.

Schedule An Inspection

The best option for stopping water issues fast is scheduling regular inspections. Having a CSIA certified expert come in and look things over at least once per year could easily make all the difference in whether or not your chimney stands the test of time. Early detection is important for keeping your chimney in good health. A pro will step in and alert you right away to any necessary repairs.

Keep An Eye Out

If you are between inspections, there are things you can keep an eye on when it comes to quickly spotting leaks or water damage. Check these things on a regular basis to ensure your chimney stays in the best condition possible.

  • Chimney Caps: Your chimney cap sits over the top of your chimney and makes a big difference when it comes to keeping water out. Be sure to check it regularly for cracks, tears, holes, or other potential repairs.
  • Chimney Crowns: The crown is the top piece of the chimney. If built right, it will hang over the chimney at a slant, so that rainwater easy slips away from the brickwork. Older crowns are often too thin and not built from the best material, causing them to crack or chip at a faster pace. Check yours often, and ask a professional to rebuild it, if necessary.
  • Flashing: The flashing on your chimney provides a seal between the roof and the chimney, and it works hard to keep your home protected. If not installed correctly, flashing can easily rust and create openings for water to enter. The seal itself may not be properly fitted, as well. Consult with a chimney expert to ensure your flashing is in the best shape possible.
  • Mortar Joints: If your mortar is showing signs of weakness, such as crumbing, cracking, deterioration, or more, repointing may be necessary. Call your certified chimney technician today to learn more.

We Can Help You Out

If you notice any of these issues, call in the experts at A-1 Chimney Specialist right away. We can fix things up fast so your problems don’t get worse. On top of our repair services, we can also offer waterproofing services, so leaky chimneys will never be an issue for you again! Browse our site or give us a call to learn more.

We can’t wait to set you up right!

Help! My Chimney Stinks

A stinky chimney and fireplace can make your home a very unpleasant place to be in. See to it that you get rid of what's causing the stench.

A stinky chimney and fireplace can make your home a very unpleasant place to be in. See to it that you get rid of what’s causing the stench.

You have noticed a strange and smelly odor in your home, and you have tracked down the source to your fireplace. Several things could be causing this smell, and when your chimney stinks so badly you can smell it in your home, it is time to call the professionals such as A-1 Chimney Specialist. We have CSIA-certified chimney sweeps who will find what is causing the odor and get rid of the problem, no matter what it may be. We provide the chimney services to take care of a stinky fireplace and chimney, and we would like to tell you more about the different reasons why you have a chimney that stinks.


If you have a wood-burning fireplace, chances are you have creosote deposits building up on your chimney walls. If the odor coming from your hearth smells like burned wood, you will know that creosote is the culprit. A naturally occurring substance, creosote is the residue left behind when smoke, vapors, gases, tar fog, and other by-products of combustion exit the cooler, upper chimney walls, as a result of condensation. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a buildup of creosote deposits in your chimney is a dangerous fire hazard as creosote is highly combustible. All it takes is your chimney flue to reach a certain internal temperature to start a chimney fire. The expert chimney sweeps at A-1 Chimney Specialist are trained extensively to remove all creosote deposits when they perform a professional chimney cleaning. Not only will we remove the source of the stinky odor in your fireplace, but we will also protect you from a hazardous chimney fire when we clean the creosote deposits from your


If you notice that distinctive, musty smell of mold coming from your fireplace and if your family members start developing asthma symptoms, mold is the source of that stinky odor and needs immediate attention for the health of you and your family. Mold can develop and grow on your chimney walls if you have a leaky chimney. According to the CSIA, water is the number one enemy of your masonry chimney. Chimney leaks can cause all sorts of problems, from mold growth to structural damage. At A-1 Chimney Specialist, our certified technicians can clean your chimney to get rid of the mold and then determine the leak source and repair it. We provide customized chimney flashing installation to keep the water out of your chimney as well as waterproofing, a treatment that seals your chimney walls with a 100% vapor-permeable solution that prevents water penetration while still allowing your chimney to “breathe” and vapors and gases to exit. This way you will not have to worry about mold returning.


Sometimes animals like birds, squirrels, and even raccoons will choose your chimney as a nesting spot during the winter, and if an animal should become trapped in your chimney and die, you will most definitely have a stinky chimney. Also, animals can leave behind debris, including fecal matter, which will also cause a bad odor in your fireplace. The CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at A-1 Chimney Specialist can help you with your animal problem, and we carry chimney bird screens we can install to prevent birds and other animals from making your chimney their home.

If you have a stinky chimney, contact A-1 Chimney Specialist today to arrange for one of our experienced chimney sweeps to diagnose and solve your odor problem.

Don’t Let Water In Your Chimney

Water is not a friend of you chimney. See to it that it doesn't have a way of getting in and damaging your chimney.

Water is not a friend of you chimney. See to it that it doesn’t have a way of getting in and damaging your chimney.

Even though rain is necessary for survival, it can be detrimental to our chimney. However there are ways to make sure that you are protected. It is also important that you keep your maintenance up to date as well so that you know to fix any current problems. To speak to a qualified technician call A-1 Chimney Service today!

How does water damage your chimney?

When water is allowed into your chimney it can begin to cause deterioration to the inside of the structure, especially in a masonry chimney. Also, when enough water collects it can begin to mold and spread to other parts of the home. It can also lead to other problems including broken brickwork, rust on metal parts, and a cracked or damaged flue liner.

How do you repair water damage?

A mix of the water and high winds that come along with storms can do some damage to a chimney. The chimney crown is often damaged in the process. This is the cover that seals the flue liner to the edge of the chimney. Most of the crowns are built out of mortar which is not designed to withstand many years of bad weather, often times cracking after installation because of shrinkage.

You also want to make sure that your flashing is in good shape. This is the seal between the roofing materials and the chimney, and stops water from being able to run into living areas. When being repaired, technicians will check both the flashing and the counter-flashing.

How can you prevent water damage?

There are ways to make sure you are doing your part when trying to keep the water away. Make sure that you have a trusted technician check your chimney cap. These are specifically designed to make sure that water does not enter the chimney’s interior. These will work to prevent animals from entering as well.

Secondly, have the technician waterproof your chimney after they sweep it. This is a procedure where they spray a sealant on the outside of the chimney to repel water that may come into contact. This is not a hard procedure but must be done on a dry day. If you live in an especially wet climate, your chimney may require more than one coat.


Keep Mold Out Of Your Chimney

It’s no secret that mold in your home that lives anywhere outside your blue cheese salad dressing is a bad, bad thing. Any part of your home that’s susceptible to moisture intrusion is susceptible to mold — your bathrooms, your ceilings and yes, your leaky chimney too.

Look closer! If you think there's nothing growing in your chimney, think again. there could be molds that can make you sick!

Look closer! If you think there’s nothing growing in your chimney, think again. there could be molds that can make you sick!

You don’t want to deal with mold growth in your chimney any more than you want it in your drywall. Air movement is a core part of how your chimney functions, and when mold spores are present, they’re in that moving air. Mold spores have been shown to contribute to a bunch of different health problems, from making allergies act up to irritating throats and worsening respiratory conditions.

A-1 Chimney Specialists can help determine whether you have a mold problem in your chimney, remove it and, more importantly, make the right repairs to stop the moisture intrusion that’s feeding the mold. A few indicators that mold growth might be a problem in your chimney:

You See The Signs Of Leaks

Moisture is, of course, what feeds mold growth. So if you notice the signs of a leak in or around your chimney — stained or discolored building materials or masonry, the moisture itself — mold is a distinct possibility. A-1 technicians will always check for mold issues when we’re working on finding and repairing the source (or sources) of a chimney leak.

You Notice A Strange Smell In Or Around Your Chimney

People always note the great smell that comes with having a fire in your fireplace. But even if you have a wood-burning unit, when the fireplace isn’t in use, you shouldn’t notice a strong smell coming from your firebox. Mold gives off a strong musty smell, so a bad odor coming from your chimney could be an indication of a leak and mold growth. Chimney odors truly aren’t just an annoyance — they can be a helpful warning, so long as you respond accordingly. If you’re noticing a strong smell around your fireplace or chimney, call A-1 Chimney Specialists. We’ll figure out what that odor is trying to tell us.

Keep Mold Out By Keeping Water Out

We don’t want water getting into your chimney system — mold is just one of the frustrating results that come with water intrusion. Along with keeping up with your annual chimney inspections, A-1 recommends a number of other preventative measures that can do a lot to keep water out of your chimney.

Chimney caps are a smart start when it comes to keeping water out — installed at the top of your flue, they help keep rain and snow out of your flue opening, which helps keep moisture out of your flue.

Top-sealing dampers are another great preventative measure — along with effectively closing off your flue when your appliance isn’t in use, these dampers use a silicone gasket to completely close off the flue opening, keeping the flue moisture- (and air-) tight.

A-1 techs can also apply a strong waterproofing sealant to your masonry that can make a huge difference in protecting older masonry and lengthening the lifespan of any masonry. Older, eroded or degraded masonry can start absorbing a large amount of water, and that’s a surefire recipe for mold. When we apply this specially designed waterproofing sealant, that absorption stops, but your masonry is still able to function the way it’s supposed to, “breathing” and allowing vapors and small particles to move from the inside of the flue to the outside.

Are you worried about a mold problem in or around your chimney? Give A-1 Chimney Specialists a call. We’d be glad to help.

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