help! chimney cleanout filled with water

Help!! We just had a huge rain storm here in the north east (over 4 inches since this morning). This afternoon we noticed a lot of water coming out of the ash cleanout doors in the basement and making a mess. After several hours of wet vacing the rain has let up and with that the water soon stopped coming out the cleanout door. I finally was able to open it and the water inside is about 3-5 inches deep and just below the lip of the door (obviously the water level was higher allowing water to pour through while the rain was heavy). The land slopes AWAY from the house on the chimney (brick) side and I saw no puddling outside the chimney. I could really use some expert opinions here....
1.) Is the water likely coming from above (no chimney cap, or bad flashing)? 2.) Is this ground water likely leaking through the chimney and polling in the cleanout (I'd estimate the cleanout floor to be about 2-3 feet below ground
We are having a chimney cleaning co. come to assess the situation, but I'd also like to be armed with some knowledge before making any decisions........
Thanks in advance!!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

1. That sounds like too much water to be captured by an open chimney at the top. Besides, you would see the water in the fire box first before it ran into the cleanout.
Bad flashing could allow roof runoff to run down the side of the chimney between the house and brick to a spot where it drains into the cleanout. A garden hose on a dry day can diagnose this.
2. My bet is on a broken mortar joint at or just below the outside ground level allowing a direct passage for water to enter the cleanout.
Wait for the chimny cleanout and inspection, they should find it. Use a company that can do camera inspections as the crack may not be in an exposed location.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We did get SOME water in the firebox (what we simply call the fireplace right?, where the logs go?). This was a small puddle, although I doubt anywhere near enough to have filled the ash clean out. If it was flashing, would I also have ceiling damage in the room with the fireplace, or would water run down the chimney wall inside the basement (ie I'd see it streaming down the basement wall above the cleanouts). Although, again, I'll have to diagnose that on a dry day with a hose. You suggestion on cracked morter below or at ground level seems plausible, is it possible the crack could be anywhere else on the chimney or would the liner block water thus ruling that out? Would a chimney cleaner co be the right person to diagnose such a problem (I'm guessing yes) or should we call someone else? Thanks again for responding!!
PipeDown wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Remove "not" for return address.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The bottom of the clean out (or top of the ash, don't know how deep the ash is) appears to be about 3-6 inches from the bottom of the cleanout door in the basement. How deep should the clean out be? Again, we're having a chinmey cleaner in to clean and cap the chimney as well as asses the situation and hopefully provide a solution. We escaped any water that storm about a month ago, but this one caught up with us :(.
Bob M wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I don't know how deep it should be, I just cleaned it out to the bottom. I'd guess maybe 6 inches. Ours was packed solid to above the door. If it went much higher it would start blocking the flue. We had furnace guys come in regularly to clean the furnace, but never had a chimney cleaner. Guess I thought the furnace people would look at that ash box once in a while.
----------- snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net Remove "not" for return address.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bob M wrote:

no matter what the cause I would add a chimney cap metal cover so animals birds and rain cant get inside.
my guess is the top of the chimney is cracked, did you have the home inspected before buying?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We did have the home inspected but due to snow on the roof they could not perform an inspection of the chimney from above. All they could do was inspect it from inside the house (they said it needed to be cleaned) and from the outside using binoculars (saying a couple bricks on top needed repointing). I am having a chimney co. come to clean and cap (was going to have this done anyway), and then inspect the chimney for the source of water. Is this problem common? Easily diagnosed by a pro?
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
grodenhiATgmailDOTcom wrote:

What uses does the chimney do> furnace, hot water tank, woonburner? others?
you need to have a interior camera inspection get a videotape!
how old is the house?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The chimney is on the side of the house and has two flues, 1 for wood burning fireplace, the other for oil boiler. It is a brick chimney about 50 years old. The outside appears in very good shape (from ground up anyhow).
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
grodenhiATgmailDOTcom wrote:

Be certain its a lined chimney for future safety, camera inspection is critical....
Most chimney troubles are in the part at or above roofline.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The chimney is lined in both flues. I had a chimney co. come today and after looking over the chimney they recommend a cleaning, cap, and some kind of sealant spayed on the outside to stop water from absorbing through the brick. While looking in the ash cleanout they noticed that the brick was soaking wet, even above the highest point the water rose, that's why they are recommened the sealant.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sounds like more water than could be accounted for by absorption but give it a try and see what happens next. Sounds mainly like a nuisance than an imminent threat to your house.
I was dissapointed by my last chimney cleaner who identified a bunch of problems but then could not give me a quote to fix it because he was not also a mason, just a cleaner. Now I need to pay another guy for either a quote or another cleaning where he can do a comprehensive quote. (cleaning is only $15 more than a quote fee and it has been a year and my roommate does like to burn paper so it is OK in the end)
In my case, there is so much missing mortar and cracked brick, they want to tear it down to the sholder and build it back up. Supposedly cheaper than repointing yards of mortar joint (plus there is apparently a point dictated by code where you are not supposed to repair but rebuild). Fortunately I have a 1 story ranch.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The outside of my chimney is in great shape (chimney guy, also a mason) did a check of the general condition of the outside of the chimney and found nothing that needed attention, in fact said it looked in perfect shape. He did suggest that some of the water could be getting in below grade, and if that's the case I should dig down to the bottom of the chimney below grade (less than two feet for me) and seal with foundation sealer, then back fill. I figure if the water still builds up in the clean out after capping and sealing, than it must be coming from underground, at which time I'll dig and seal. Of course we're supposely going to get slammed again tomorrow afternoon/night :(. I swear if we get another "100 year storm" or "record breaking rain event" here in RI, I'm selling and moving to the desert.
PipeDown wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to grodenhiATgmailDOTcom, vinny wrote: Can you add cement thru the clean out to seal it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 12:44:07 PM UTC-4, vinny wrote:

any moisture in the remainder of the basement?
investigate interior french drain...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.