How often do you think about your chimney? Is it only when you have a fire burning, or do you take the time to have maintenance completed on it at other times of the year? Well, your chimney is part of your home and it is definitely an item that needs to be maintained so that it can continue to function properly and safely when you need it. Think of it like an appliance that needs regular maintenance.

Here are 4 common problems that occur with chimneys:


It can be quite easy for an animal or debris to become lodged inside your chimney. While the debris is bad enough, the animals can cause a larger problem. Any debris that blocks your chimney can prevent the air from flowing through and smoke can billow back into your home. It can also cause a chimney fire if an ember reaches the debris. Animals are slightly worse because they can become stuck and die. At that point, they can cause not only an airflow and fire concern, they can also smell. That smell is never pleasant and it is something that you will not want in your home for too long.

Creosote Buildup

Creosote will build up inside your chimney every time that you have a fire burning. It will continue to build up until it forms a thick, sticky tar on the inside of your chimney. This material is flammable, so it can catch on fire easily if it gets too thick. That fire can then spread to the rest of your home.

Faulty Bricks

Bricks are quite sturdy, but over time, they can break down and become weak and brittle. This can happen from water penetration or from fires that are too hot. If these bricks are not replaced or repaired quickly, your chimney could easily collapse with no further warning.

Cracks in the Flue

The flue and the interior of your chimney can crack from moisture and the heat from a fire. These items will need to be repaired or replaced so that a real fire does not ignite and cause damage to your home.

Chimney Problems in the Swarthmore Area

These are the four most common problems that we see with chimneys and that we believe that you should be aware of. While it is best to have a professional clean and inspect your chimney once a year, you can also keep an eye on your chimney yourself. A quick look up your chimney or a glance at the bricks on the outside can give you an idea if it is time to call a professional for some assistance.

The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA certified and we strive to maintain that certification with additional training every year. Call us at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, or to get information about your chimney problems.