The 4 Main Causes of Chimney Damage & Chimney Fires

Chimneys can suffer damage in several different ways – some that are preventable, some that aren’t. Let’s look at both kinds and talk about how you should address them.

Chimney Masonry Repair Amherst, NHPoor workmanship in building the chimney

If defects were built into the chimney when it was constructed, damage at some level down the line is likely. Common problems include:

Wrong-size flue for the fireplace that results in unsafe drafting

Inferior bricks and mortar that are susceptible to faster decay

Unparged smoke chamber

Faulty liner installation

Footing that is too narrow or too shallow and leads to a tilting chimney


These and other similar problems often aren’t revealed until trouble arises. The best way to evaluate the condition of your chimney is through a certified inspection performed once a year. This way, you can address problems early and reduce the likelihood of many different major repair or rebuilding projects down the line.

Weather or seismic events

As strong and sturdy as chimneys are, they often can’t withstand a lightning strike, earthquake, gale-force winds or pounding hail storms – especially true for chimneys that are getting up there in age.

Following any of these events, you may be able to visually tell that damage has been done to the chimney. However, there could be very minor damage that’s not easy to see but that could turn into a serious problem. For this reason, it’s recommended that you schedule a chimney inspection after any major weather or seismic event, just to make sure.

Chimney With White StainsChimney leaks

A leaky chimney can be caused by the events listed above as well as by small cracks in the masonry that naturally happen over time. When water is able to infiltrate these cracks, it will begin a process of decay, particularly when the temperature drops and the water freezes and expands.

The first step in addressing a chimney leak is a professional inspection to determine the extent of the problem. Solutions may include a waterproof sealant on the masonry or a process called tuckpointing, where missing sections of mortar are replaced with a strong new application. Caught early, a chimney leak can be fixed simply enough. If left unaddressed, it can lead to large-scale structural damage.





Signs there is a chimney leak or may be one soon:

  • Cracks in the chimney crown
  • Severely damaged chimney cap
  • Warped or missing roof flashing
  • Crumbling or loose bricks and mortar
  • Water in the firebox
  • Damp sections of walls and the ceiling near the fireplace
  • Strong musty odors coming from the firebox
  • White staining on the exterior chimney masonry

Chimney Fires

Excess flammable creosote in the flue is the primary cause of chimney fires, which can be large or small but always potentially destructive. Annual chimney sweep service is the solution. Chimney sweeps use specialized tools to safely remove creosote buildups and dramatically reduce the likelihood of a chimney fire.

Over time, chimney fires can destroy the chimney liner, eat away at the chimney’s masonry and put vulnerable materials of the home at risk of a devastating fire. You can’t keep creosote from forming if your fireplace burns wood, but you can keep your chimney clean and safe.

Black Moose Chimney & Stove of Antrim, NH, is on call to help with all your chimney needs including CSIA-certified chimney cleaning, chimney inspection and chimney repair services. Let us help you keep your chimney safe and working correctly. Schedule an appointment or get your questions answered at (603) 525-7905.

First Thing

John RantaJohn Ranta
17:01 22 Mar 24
They arrived on time, worked quickly and showed me the results. Prfessional throughout. jr
william greenwilliam green
23:21 14 Mar 24
Really helped me out can't say enough good things highly recommend!!!! The young man that came to my home was very knowledgeable and friendly great attitude all around answered all my questions and left me stress free best of all left no mess.🤙🏻🤙🏻
Michael Dell'OrtoMichael Dell'Orto
18:39 14 Mar 24
Jaime ConleyJaime Conley
17:13 14 Mar 24
Sarah GilliattSarah Gilliatt
01:46 13 Mar 24
A very thorough and careful job done! Thank you.
Larry CookLarry Cook
15:11 07 Mar 24
I wanted to give 5 stars but they are very busy which meant I had a good wait for both the inspection/cleaning, then for a quote on repairs and then for the repairs. Their prices seemed a little high to me but I have nothing to compare with as they were highly recommended by someone I trust and other companies had plenty of negatives reviews which kept me from getting additional quotes. I am happy with the work and they promptly returned to fix a mistake that had been made. Chris the inspector, Jennifer in the office, and Alex and his repair crew were all pleasant and took the time to answer all of my questions. Alex and his crew even took their shoes off (it was winter) before entering my house without even being asked! So if you are not in a rush and want to ensure you chimney is as safe as possible then I think you'll be happy with Black Moose.
Rebecca DeFuscoRebecca DeFusco
22:35 21 Feb 24
After a recent sweep of our chimney, it was discovered that our flue tiles were cracked. Black Moose techs were hard working, detail oriented and professional! Nice jobs guys! See you next year for my cleaning!
Karen CKaren C
14:52 14 Feb 24
Excellent I highly recommend Black Moose Chimney and Stove; Kelly and Liam are awesome, they did a great job. Extremely professional, arrived early, went through everything with a fine tooth comb ensuring pellet stove was thoroughly cleaned. They also were respectful of my home, conscientious and cleaned up after themselves. Made sure stove worked prior to leaving and told me to call promptly if anything came up afterward. Will definitely use them again.
Denise ClarkDenise Clark
16:32 31 Jan 24
We've had Black Moose clean our chimney for a number of years.But recently, we had an emergency situation at our home involving our chimney & oil furnace flue, which was caked full of soot from a malfunctioning furnace. They came & cleaned out both flues in no time, even going up on the roof with snow on it! They cleaned up after their work in the interior rooms where the oil furnace and the woodstove are located. Great work. Reasonable prices. Very nice people. You can't go wrong with Black Moose.
Joe GJoe G
18:30 24 Jan 24
Goods: The technicians know their business, very efficient in cleaning/inspection along with cleaning up after the 'dirty work'.Others: Communications could be more effective. Despite early coordination about scope of work (multiple flues within same chimney) the estimate provided did not reflect this and the final invoice was significantly more than the estimate provided.Quote for follow-on chimney relining was significantly more than that offered by other companies in the area (and far more than neighbors experienced for similar work accomplished by other companies)