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Question DetailsAsked on 5/18/2018

water accumulating in the chiney flutes located in the basement one has approx 10 inches what is causing this

had chimney repair out it is not that only an issue when it rains it begins to come out of doors since it rises so high

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1 Answer


A chimney flute is part of a pipe organ - I presume you meant "chimney flue" - but I think you mean the ashbox or ashpit at the bottom of the chimney in the basement, right above the chimney foundation pad, with the water coming out the ash cleanout doors.

Your problem is either flashing or a seal around the chmney at the roof (more common) or at the siding interface, letting rainwater come in through the masonry to the flue and draining down to the basement from there. Possibly water from roof runoff or backing up surface water getting into the chimney at ground level or below, but usually that comes out around the chimney base, not from inside - but depends on how cracked the lower part of the chimney and foundation is. Another common source is missing rain cap on top of the chimney, or in areas with high blowing winds a too wide open to the air (too small or flat a hood) or unscreened chimney cap letting a lot of blowing rain come into the flue.

Cracking up crown on the chimney (the mortar domed "crown" on top of the masonry designed to drain rainwater off the sides) is also a common source of significant amounts of water inflow like this.

If running down the side of the upper part of the chimney below roof level (check in attic if accessible) then the metal flashing around the chimney would be the first suspect.

If coming down inside the flue from above the roofline, you would normally also have water in the fireplace (running down through the ash chute to the basement) after significant rains - though it is possible for it to follow along the outside of the chimney from a flashing leak, then get into the chimney below the fireplace level.

In heavy rain you might be able to clean out the fireplace(s), lay newspaper or flattened out large garbage bag or such in there, and lay on your back with a strong flashlight and look up past the open flue damper into the flue itself to seeif the water is coming down there, and if so is it coming from the top or coming in partway down the flue after maybe running down the outside of the chimney a ways first before finding a crack or missing mortar to let it in. Generally needs a good strong LED or 9V lantern flashlight to see up ion there well - normal incandescent bulb C or D cell or pocket type not strong enough to illuminate any wetness all the way to the top.

Either way you need a chimney sweep or a masonry contractor specializing in chimneys - and since you are getting so much water is a pretty serious leak somewhere.

Do NOT let this go unfixed - water in the chimney can cause framing rot, deterioration of the chimney and/or its foundation (especially if it freezes), foundation settlement from softening of the supporting soil, and mold in and around the the chimney - plus nasty wet creosote odors if running down inside the flue.

Since your chimney repair guy did not find the cause - I would first find another one with good reviews and ratings because unless a brand new leak he should have been able to find the source by tracing the staining - and prearrange for him to be available on shorter thann normal appointment notice, then calling him out when water is starting to accumulate in the ash pit would be a good idea so he can see the wetness while and where it is running down in or along the chimney - though a hose spray on roof, cap area, and/or siding interfaces can also be used to simulate rain to do that.

Commonly about $100-150 callout charge, and depending on how long it takes to find the source (i.e. does he have to go into attic or try hose to simulate the leak) can commonly run $150-250 to track a leak like this down - plus repair cost highly variable depending on the fix required, but if a single-point issue (as opposed to general chimney deterioration) commonly $500 or less will take care of it - more like $500-750 commonly if the chimney flashing at the roofline is rusted out so all needs replacing.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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