5 Common Signs of Chimney Damage
When a chimney or its components have fallen into disrepair or begin to function inefficiently, there usually are signs that tell you something needs to be addressed. Here are five signs of chimney damage for you to watch for so you can have problems fixed before they become expensive or hazardous.
When bricks and mortar begin to crumble, and when bricks start becoming loose, it’s very possibly a sign of water damage within the system. Water and bricks don’t mix, and over time, infiltrating water from rain and snow will eat away at a chimney’s bricks and mortar joints.
As cracks enlarge, more water gets into them and expands when the temperature outside drops below 32 degrees, leading to more damage. If you suspect there are issues with your chimney’s masonry, call a certified chimney inspector.
Water in the firebox
If your chimney has a secure chimney cap, then water in the firebox probably means there’s a leak somewhere in the system. (If your chimney doesn’t have a chimney cap, you should install one.)
The key to keeping a chimney leak from causing serious damage is to find out as quickly as possible where the leak originates and get it repaired. An experienced chimney technician can zero in on the problem, whether it’s caused by a cracked chimney crown, damaged masonry, faulty roof flashing or other issues.
Additional signs of a leaky chimney
Along with water in the firebox, there are other indicators that your chimney is leaking. They include:
- White staining (efflorescence) on the exterior chimney masonry
- Dampness/discoloration on walls and the ceiling near the fireplace or chimney
- Strong odors emanating from the fireplace
When smoke can’t draft properly from your fireplace, it’s not technically a sign of damage but rather a sign that something is impeding the air flow.
A few different things can cause drafting problems:
- A faulty fireplace damper that won’t stay open
- Way too much smoke caused by burning damp (unseasoned wood)
- Obstructions in the flue
- Excess creosote in the flue
Flue obstructions such as the nests of small animals and tree debris can narrow the flue and cause smoke to back up into the home. Of particular concern is the carbon monoxide that smoke contains – it’s an invisible and odorless toxin that’s potentially fatal to people and animals.
If excess creosote is blocking the passage of smoke, there’s a chance it will ignite and start a chimney fire. Professional chimney sweeps use tools such as rotating brushes, scrapers, solvents and vacuums to safely and effectively remove creosote and restore safety to the chimney.
Chimney component damage
Any of a chimneys parts and components can be damaged, leading to inefficient or unsafe operation. These include the chimney cap, chimney crown, roof flashing, chimney liner, throat and top-sealing dampers, smoke chamber and smoke shelf. Each of these parts should be inspected annually by a licensed chimney inspector.
The best way to keep your chimney safe and free of ongoing damage is to schedule regular cleanings and inspections. Black Moose Chimney of Antrim, NH, provides all the chimney services you need for safe and efficient operation. Call us today at (603) 525-7905.