Chimney leaking ? Get a bucket Honey, no get lots of buckets”

“Oh my gosh, Honey the ceiling by the fireplace is leaking like crazy, get a bucket, NO…. get lots of buckets”

I get lots of water problems phone calls like this all during our rainy season March – July, I found some interesting rainfall statistics for Cincinnati. Did you know that our heaviest rainfall herein Cincinnati occurs during the month of May, with over 5 inches rainfall? The month of June is 2nd and has over 4” of rain and the months of March, April, and July are close to tying at 3.86 rainfall. Cincinnati has on the average 132 days rain that brings us 42 “1/4 inches of rain. For a little comparison of a few other cities Portland, OR has 39” and Seattle, WA comes in at about 38”. Atlanta comes in at 48 inches and Orlando Florida is just a touch over 53 inches. That is almost 41/2 feet of rain. As a result of all the rain or snow, it can cause leaking chimneys

Chase Pan is Reinstalled (New) 

My Job is to help identify where the water is making entry into the structure of a home. I want you to keep in mind, that there actually may be multiple points for water entry into the home. When addressing water problems like leaking chimneys use:

 “ a systematic process for eliminating each possible points for unwanted water entry”. It is my opinion that almost in all residential interior water problems are derived from … One of three possibilities Area of Concern.

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My 1st Area of Concern is what I’ll refer to as the “Rooftop Area”

Starting from the top of your roof it heir could be damaged or actually missing shingles. There could also be water entry through popped nail holes on the wood decking where the shingles were once installed. Did you know that just one little hole could allow gallons of water into your home? There are a number of roof penetrations that may be problematic. Such as those rubber boots around those short plumbing vent stacks, these could be cracked or worn out from the sun.MVC-006S (3) Roof vents are those square looking vents are required to exchange the air in our homes and attics. Whole house attic fans, skylights, and window lintels flashings may need to be re-calked or replaced or weatherized. There is metal valley flashing on the rooftop that can be found at every angle, rise or dimension of the rooftop shape

There is a term called Ice Damming this is where in the winter ice is collecting in the gutter and as it melts on those sunny afternoons. It then refreezes as the sun goes down. The problem here is that it starts to accumulate and backs-up under the shingle and now is again freezing and melting. It then drips into the attic, then down into the ceiling. It further travels down in your bedroom or living room of your home.

metal cricket)

A Cricket is a pyramid design that flushes rainwater around the backside of a chimney and into the gutter.

Then there is the chimney flashing this is a metal collar that fits around the chimney that may have rusted out or damage by raccoon working to pull it back as they are making entry into your attic or maybe tree branches may have been rubbing against it. Metal chimney flashing wraps around the shape of the chimneystack preventing rainwater entry that is running down the rooftop shingles.

My 2nd Area of Concern

Is what I’ll refer to as the Chimney Chase Area; this is the shape of the chimney. It could be made of wood framing or brick masonry. It really doesn’t make any difference if the water is coming into your house

.. Just fix my water problem  ……. is what I hear the most!MVC-021S

-Starting at the top of the chimney, it may be called by a number of names. Some names like the crown, cap, crown wash, splay or if it is made of metal it is referred to like a metal chase cover.

-The Crown of the chimney must be watertight. I often refer to it as the Icing on top of a cupcake.




July14 two chimneys 052One of the biggest problems we see is that during the rapid construction days of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s that many of the masonry crowns were made of leftover brick mortar. That material is a lot softer material than the properly required harder concrete that is needed to protect the brick on the chimney masonry.

Masonry tuck-pointing:

It is the process of replacing damaged or worn out mortar joints from the bricks on both the chimney and any other masonry surface of your home.

This is often a big problem that is found at the top of the brick chimney as well as what is referred to as the corbels, which are hips or shaping on the outside of the chimney.


All of these damaged mortar joints need to be ground out and filled back to prevent water from enters the home, We always want our work to blend in with the rest of the home as well as can be.

We always use colored dye tints in our mortar. We do this so that our tuck-pointing work does not have that bright gray newly repaired look.

Again “moisture is not your friend” as overhanging tree branches, and shrubs laying up against the house brick can bring big problem.

The same is true as we are watering our yards and shrubs in the summer, as well as repeated water sprinkling of the masonry brick surface over and over is very damaging.

MVC-004S (3)

My 3rd and final Area of Concern in Chimney Leaking;

The internal working of the chimney flue system. The flue system is designed to move hot gases from the hot water heater and furnace.

For every 100.000 BTU of natural gas that is burned, it produces about 1 gallon of water.

Either it goes up the chimney or it will condensate and leak back down into the ceilings and wall of living space or back into your basement. Your Chimney flue may have been improperly sized. For a new furnace or hot water heater replacement and possible water is now running out onto the basement floor.

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If the chimney flue is blocked this will also cause condensation water problems. You may ask what could cause this blockage, it could be broken chimney flue liners or bird nesting blockage. This is why we always recommend a properly sized chimney cap. We also sizing along with a bird screening on every chimney top.

To summarise all of this up for you,

We have identified water problems. I have offered you some reasonable solutions.

“Now picture this with me”… You have had a very busy day, you’re rather tired, it is 10:30 at night, you shut the TV off. You’re locking up the house and preparing to go upstairs to bed. You then hear that voice coming from upstairs saying.

… Honey hurry, get the buckets it is raining in our bedroom… And it’s on your side of the bed!

Chimney Leaks

Tuck Pointing

In conclusion, I hope that this information helps! Check out our YouTube Videos or our Blogs to learn more about chimney leaks and more!
Burn Safe and Warm,

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.….Educational Videos….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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