Fireplace Problems, Repairs, and Maintenance

The bricks and mortar used to build your fireplace are strong materials, but fire is intense and creates a lot of wear and tear. Over time, the excessive heat will cause problems and your fireplace will likely need repairs. While regular maintenance reduces the frequency for large-scale repairs, you still want to be alert and look out for any problems. When you prevent major problems from happening, you’ll stay safe and enjoy using your fireplace without spending excessive amounts of money. In this article, we’ll cover some common fireplace problems, repairs, and maintenance tips.

Common Fireplace Problems

Depending on if you have a gas fireplace or a wood burning fireplace, you will experience a few different problems. In relation to chimney issues, both are the same. Here are a few common fireplace and chimney problems to look out for.

Chimney Blockages

Chimney blockages occur when debris, leaves, trees, or even animals get stuck in your chimney. This is most common when you haven’t used your fireplace in a long time or if you have a lot of low hanging branches around your roof. To prevent this problem, opt for a chimney cap and get annual inspections.

Unusual Odors

Unusual odors can occur in gas fireplaces and tend to cause a bit of panic in the homeowner. This is understandable, as unusual odors are a bit unnerving when trying to light a fire inside. Luckily, most unusual odors aren’t a reason for concern. They can be caused by the accumulation of dust, dirt, or even pet fur. A simple cleaning should solve the problem. If you smell gas or a burning smell, stop using your fireplace and contact a professional mason immediately.

Creosote Buildup

This is another chimney problem, but is worth mentioning since it’s so dangerous. Creosote is a flammable substance that builds up on the inside of your chimney. If the buildup is excessive, it can cause fires. This is why it’s important to get your chimney cleaned regularly by a professional.

Pilot Light Problems

In gas fireplaces, the pilot light will sometimes go out. If this happens, look at the manufacturer instructions on how to reignite it. Pilot lights commonly go out and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. If it happens regularly, call a professional for an inspection as your thermopile could be damaged.

Ignition Failure

If your pilot light is working well, but your gas fireplace isn’t igniting, there could be a few different causes. First, check your tubing. Make sure there’s no air trapped inside by holding down the pilot button. This will push excess air out. If that doesn’t work, check your spark igniter. If that’s not the problem, try cleaning the pilot area. If all else fails, call a professional.

Cloudy or Hazy Glass

With regular wear and tear, it’s likely that the glass encasing of your fireplace will eventually take on a cloudy or hazy appearance. Cleaning it properly is important to fix this and avoid permanently damaging the glass. Use an ammonia-based cleaner as soon as you notice it getting cloudy to make sure it’s restored back to its original condition.

Common Fireplace Repairs

In addition to common problems, there are a few common fireplace repairs that are often needed. If you need to replace any parts, such as the chimney cap, crown, or damper, make sure you call a professional. These need to be installed correctly to ensure your fireplace is safe to use. You might also need to get your fireplace and chimney relined for optimal ventilation. If bricks are deteriorating, tuckpointing and masonry repair is recommended. Finally, repairing the smoke chamber is essential to keeping things in working order. If you need any of these common repairs, it’s always best to stick with a professional.

Regular Fireplace Maintenance Tips

Taking the time to ensure that your fireplace is in good condition is important. Doing so will keep you and your family safe and reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. Remember, creosote buildup is extremely dangerous, which is why regular maintenance is so important. To stay safe, we recommend getting your fireplace inspected yearly, or twice yearly if you use it frequently, and performing regular fireplace maintenance. To make sure you cover all of your bases, call the professionals at Chicago Tuckpointing Inc. today. Our professional certified masonry contractors are trained to tackle all of your fireplace problems, repairs, and maintenance needs. With winter approaching fast, now is the perfect time to schedule a fireplace and chimney inspection. Call us today at (708) 942-1951 to get your yearly professional inspection before winter hits. To receive a fast quote, fill out the contact form on our website at