Common Chimney Issues and How To Fix Them
If you’re like many homeowners, you treat your chimney like it’s invincible. You use it a few times a year, clean out the ash, close your damper, and assume everything’s good. That approach may seem to work, but just because you can’t see any damage doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Luckily, you can fix most chimney issues if you catch them quickly. Keep reading to learn about the most common chimney issues and their solutions.
Understanding 6 Common Chimney Issues
If you own a building with a fireplace, there’s a good chance you’ll experience a chimney issue at some point. These are the five most common issues you might notice.
Chimney Flue Leaking Smoke
When you light a fire, smoke should make its way up your flue and exit your house through the chimney cap. But sometimes, smoke leaks into your home instead of reaching the outdoors. If you notice a smoky smell around your house after you light a fire, you probably have a crack or two in your flue.
Why do flues crack? There are several reasons. Clay flue tiles don’t absorb heat quickly, which means they can expand and split if you burn fires with uneven temperatures or suffer a chimney fire.
If you suspect you might have a cracked flue, you should call a chimney repair company as soon as possible. Leaking smoke isn’t just annoying—it can be fatal. A faulty flue can release deadly carbon monoxide into your home. Plus, if you suffer a flue fire, it can spread through cracks and cause a house fire.
Cracked Chimney Masonry
Masonry is highly durable. But after decades in the cold, rain, and stifling heat, your bricks and mortar will deteriorate. If you notice cracks, crumbled mortar, discoloration, or leaning, those are signs that it’s time for repairs.
Cracked bricks may not seem like a big deal, but they can let water into your chimney and cause internal damage. Plus, if you ignore brick issues for too long, your entire chimney could collapse. That’s why it’s important to schedule tuckpointing or repointing when you first notice exterior chimney issues.
Have Your Bricks Seen Better Days?
Schedule a free tuckpointing consultation today to learn if you need repairs.
Chimney Not Drawing Smoke Up
Does a cloud of smoke fill your room every time you light a fire? There are a few different reasons why your chimney might fail to draw up smoke, including:
- A closed damper: If you’ve ever forgotten to open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire, you know how quickly your house can fill with smoke.
- Chimney obstructions: If you open your damper and smoke still enters your home, there’s probably something blocking your flue. Animal nests, creosote, and other debris can prevent smoke from traveling up your chimney and push it back into your firebox.
- Cold temperatures: In low-temperature conditions, cold air often travels down your chimney and blocks smoke from exiting. To prevent this, you should create a hot updraft by lighting a small fire and using a tool to hold it up in your chimney.
- Changes in air pressure: Tightly sealed houses can pull smoke from your fireplace opening. You can sometimes fix air pressure issues by cracking open a window and letting a small amount of fresh air into the room.
Air Blowing Down Chimney
Do you notice a blast of cold air every time you walk by your chimney? You have a downdraft caused by differences in air pressure at the top of your chimney and inside your fireplace. You can often resolve a chimney draft by closing your damper or buying a top-sealing damper.
Chimney Flue Won’t Open
In a functioning chimney, your damper should open and close easily. But creosote, soot, and rust can block your throat damper, making your fireplace unusable. You may be able to fix your problem with a bit of WD-40, but in many cases, you’ll need to call an experienced chimney sweep.
Moisture in Your Chimney
If there’s one thing you never want to see in your chimney system, it’s water. Moisture can damage your brickwork, flue, firebox, and damper, and it can also spread to the walls and ceiling. The main culprits of a damp chimney are damaged chimney crowns and caps.
Your chimney crown is a sloped piece of concrete that directs water away from your chimney. A cap sits at the top of your flue to prevent water, debris, and animals from traveling inside. If one or both elements get damaged, you can end up with a chimney issue.
Schedule an Inspection To Get to the Root of Your Chimney Issues
Are you dealing with a common chimney issue? It’s time to schedule a chimney inspection from Approved Home Improvements. Our team members can identify the cause of your chimney issue and find the right solution. We offer a range of services to fix all types of problems, including:
- Chimney sweeping: Sometimes, all you need is a simple chimney sweep to fix your chimney issue. We can remove stubborn creosote and any debris blocking your damper.
- Flue relining: Our team repairs cracks in your flue by laying new flue tiles or using HeatShield products. We’re the only company in St. Louis that repairs clay flue tiles instead of installing cheap metal liners.
- Chimney cap and crown repairs: Whether you need crown repairs or a new chimney cap, our team is here to help.
- Damper repairs or replacements: Our damper replacements help you stop drafts and direct smoke up your chimney.
- Tuckpointing: If you need new bricks or cosmetic work done on your chimney’s exterior, we perform repointing and tuckpointing.
Approved Home Improvements focuses on restoring your chimney, not just repairing it. Our goal is to bring your chimney back to its original look while improving its functionality.
Get in touch to schedule your inspection or learn more about our chimney repair services.