Over the course of its life, a chimney can develop a number of issues and this is particularly true for older chimneys. The extent of these problems will vary depending on the age of the chimney, how often it is used and how well it is maintained. Nobody expects you to become an expert at diagnosing these issues, but you should be mindful of some of the telltale signs. It is also very important that you don’t hesitate to make a service call when it is necessary.
Signs of Chimney Problems
Knowing what to look for is important as they could indicate problems with the chimney that pose a danger to your household. Important warning signs include:
- Smoke backing up in the fireplace: This is usually the result of a blockage somewhere in the system. If you don’t use a chimney cap, leaves can be easily blown into the opening. Birds will sometimes make nests in these structures because they offer warmth. This will expose you to carbon monoxide, so do not use the fireplace if you think there is a blockage.
- Moisture around the chimney: You may notice damp areas or your wallpaper may start to sag or you may notice moisture damage on the painted surface of drywall. Moisture can get in if the chimney is not properly waterproofed. Damage to the chimney crown can also allow moisture to seep in.
- Weakened mortar: This is not always noticeable from the ground, but sometimes it is easy enough to spot. If you are comfortable with heights, you can climb a ladder to take a quick look just to be sure. However, this is also checked during the annual inspection, so talk to us about scheduling your yearly chimney inspection.
Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
When you notice any of these signs you should not ignore them. You wouldn’t ignore smoke coming from the kitchen while you’re cooking or the smell of fire coming from a room in which you had a candle burning; so don’t ignore the warning signs coming from your chimney. With the help of a professional chimney sweep, you can ensure that your chimney will be ready when it counts.
Communicating with a Professional Chimney Sweep
If you don’t understand why an annual inspection is necessary, we can explain this to you. We can address any concerns you have about cleaning and what it entails. For your part, the sooner you call for help with a chimney or fireplace problem, the sooner you will get help. Some people make the mistake of dismissing what seems like a minor issue, but it is best to have the system checked by an expert just in case.
You should also talk to us to schedule your annual chimney maintenance and inspection. This is essential for proper functioning of the system and for your family’s safety. Chimney problems are not that expensive when you catch them early. Don’t allow a small, easy problem to become a major chimney issue.