Every section of your home needs some maintenance, but ignoring some areas can prove dangerous. The chimney is one such area, and over the years you may experience a few problems with yours. Here are eight of the most common ones, and ways to deal with them.

  1. Chimney Fires. Small fires occur in chimneys all the time, but they usually go unnoticed. This could be a sign that a major fire is a possibility later on, but it is not a given. Chimney fires have clear signs like a train like sound or thick black smoke. A neighbor may also spot the flames from the outside. Regular chimney inspections and cleaning will help to prevent this.
  2. A dirty chimney. Chimneys get dirtier each time they are used. By shining a flashlight inside, you will be able to see the extent of the buildup. A chimney sweep should inspect the chimney ad clean out the creosote each year.
  3. An unsafe chimney. A chimney can be unsafe for a variety of reasons, including damage, previous fires or lack of maintenance. A chimney technician will provide you with a detailed report after an inspection. This will tell you exactly which steps are necessary to make the structure safe to use.
  4. A sticking flue. A section of the flue, called a damper, opens and closes to allow the passage of smoke. It can start to malfunction, usually due to rust caused by moisture. If it doesn’t open fully smoke can fill the home when you use the fireplace. The chimney inspection may be forced to replace the flue if there is extensive damage.
  5. Chimney leaks. This can happen in the area of the flashing, the crown or the chimney breast. This can cause damage not just to the chimney itself, but also to the interior of the home. Repairs are usually necessary, but a good sealant will help to prevent future leaks.
  6. Chimney blockage. This can cause the home to fill with smoke and carbon monoxide. The cause is usually windblown debris, but birds can sometimes build nests in the chimney, or small animals can die inside the space.
  7. Chimney has no liner. This is more common with older homes, and it is something that should be addressed. Liners help to move smoke from the fireplace or wood stove. The lack of a liner increases the risk of a chimney fire, so a technician will have to install one.
  8. No chimney cap. A chimney with no cap will have water pouring in when it rains. These days it is considered vital, as it keeps out water, and it protects the chimney from debris and keeps animals and birds out.

You don’t need to experience chimney problems if you take a proactive approach. Contact us for an inspection, and follow our recommendations to get your chimney in shape before the next winter. Lou Curley’s Chimney Service is a local, family-owned and operated company with two CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps to better serve homeowners along the Main Line. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney cleaning or inspection. Also follow us on Facebook for even more great information about keeping your chimney safe for years to come.