How to Tell If Your Chimney Is in Need of a Little TLC

Your chimney is an important part of your house. A chimney that is in bad repair can cause problems you don’t even want to imagine. The problem many homeowners have with chimneys is that they view them as being part of the roof and ignore the warning signs that are coming into the main house. Right now, you’re probably wondering what we’re going on about. Well, we’ll tell you and it may save you a lot of time and worry.

What Are the Warning Signs of Trouble?

Since your average homeowner doesn’t generally make trips to the rooftop we’ll spare you what to look for up there. We will, however, advise you to have a qualified professional do an annual roof inspection to spot trouble before it gets out of hand.

What we can tell you to look for is really quite simple. Let’s start with your walls. Yes, the walls that bother your chimney (remember it runs the depth of your house) are vulnerable to moisture that creeps in from your chimney. How does that moisture get in? It can happen several ways, but the most common is damaged mortar joints. The constant exposure to the elements that a chimney is subjected to breaks down the mortar causing little cracks that can eventually become big cracks. Moisture gets in and seeps into your walls, leaving an unsightly mess.

Another indication that your chimney needs help is a rusted damper or firebox. If your damper becomes difficult to open or close it could be due to moisture in the chimney. If you inspect your damper using a flashlight you may spot rust on it or on your firebox. You have to have a professional check it out to find the cause and have it repaired as soon as possible. Whatever you do, don’t light a fire.

One more problem you can see without a roof inspection is damage as a result of cracked flue tiles or spalling bricks. When bricks get moist, bits of masonry pop out. If this happens, you may notice bits of masonry that have fallen from the chimney. If it’s a flue tile problem little slices of tile will fall to the bottom of the chimney probably landing in your firebox.