4 Major Chimney Problems and How to Prevent Them

Contrary to popular belief, chimneys are not exactly low maintenance. When improperly cared for, chimneys and fireplaces can cause house fires, dangerous exposure to carbon monoxide, and costly repairs. That’s not to say that chimneys should be seen as an added hassle. When you prevent major chimney problems, you and your family will enjoy a warm home and cozy nights while staying safe and avoiding unnecessary expenses. However, in order to prevent any problems, it’s important to first understand what they are. In this article, we’ll explore 4 major chimney problems and how to prevent them.

Major Chimney Problems

There are a number of things that can go wrong with your chimney, but as long as you know what to look for, maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult.

1. General Obstruction

There are a number of things that can lead to chimney obstruction, but regardless of the cause, it’s important to address. When a chimney is obstructed, smoke has a harder time escaping out of the draft. Instead of being led out of your home, negative air pressure from the blockage will cause smoke to billow inside. Not only is this an annoyance, it’s also harmful.

Toxic carbon monoxide will enter your home and can harm you and your family in a short period of time. Since carbon monoxide is odorless, it’s difficult to tell without effective carbon monoxide monitors. If you experience carbon monoxide poisoning, you can lose consciousness. Over time, exposure can be fatal, so making sure that your chimney is cleared and smoke can escape is essential to the wellbeing of your family.

If you notice any smoke entering your home, call a professional as soon as possible for an inspection and stop using your fireplace until the problem is resolved. To prevent obstruction, opt for a chimney cap and make sure that your trees are well trimmed.

2. Creosote Buildup

Another problem with chimneys is the buildup of creosote. It’s a natural deposit that accumulates along the flue lining from the chemical reaction of wood being burned. Creosote a tar-like material that is extremely flammable, yet easily mitigated with regular chimney cleanings. To avoid experiencing a house fire, make sure you get your chimney professionally cleaned. We recommend doing it twice a year, once before you start using your chimney and once after, just to be safe. However, if you only opt for once a year, make sure to do it before using your chimney for the season.

3. Excessive Moisture

Moisture is inevitable in a chimney. It rains, snows, sleets, and hails every year, and keeping 100% of moisture out is near impossible. To combat the problems and damages resulting from excessive moisture, make sure that you have a chimney cap or that your system isn’t completely open. This will help reduce the amount of water that gets inside of your chimney, thus reducing problems like rust and linear deterioration.

4. Damaged Masonry

Chimneys are almost always made out of brick and mortar. While these are great for fire resistance, it opens up the possibility for damaged masonry. With prolonged exposure to cold and moisture, spalling can occur. This happens when moisture gets inside your bricks, freezes and expands, then thaws and contracts. Over time it can cause your brick faces to “pop off” and leave them damaged. Similarly, mortar joints may loosen and cause problems. To prevent these issues, get your yearly professional inspection. A trained mason will be able to come by and look to make sure that everything is in good shape. If they notice any damages, it will be much easier and affordable to repair them with tuckpointing before it gets too late.

Calling in the Professionals

Making sure that your chimney stays in good condition is imperative to the safety of you and your family. While it may not seem like it’s doing much, your chimney is what keeps you safe whenever you light a fire indoors. When your chimney is damaged, or there is a problem, it’s important to get things fixed as soon as possible and avoid lighting a fire until the issue is resolved. Creosote buildup is dangerous and using chimneys with problems isn’t worth the risk. Instead, give the professionals at Chicago Tuckpointing Inc. a call today. All of our professionals are certified masonry contractors trained to handle chimney problems. We’re here to make sure that your chimney is in good condition and you and your family stay safe.

With winter approaching, now is the perfect time to assess chimneys for damages and make there aren’t any major problems. Being proactive with your chimney is the best way to save time, money, and stress. Call us today at (708) 942-1951 to get your yearly professional inspection before the cold sets in. You can also receive a quick quote by filling out the contact form on our website at https://chicagotuckpointinginc.com/.