5 Common Problems with Chimneys

Fireplaces require regular maintenance to ensure that no problems occur, which can lead to high repair costs or health concerns for people living within the home.

February 14, 2014

A traditional log burning fireplace is a great focal point in any room in the home. However, they require maintenance to ensure that no problems occur, which can lead to high repair costs or health concerns for people living within the home.

Here are five common issues which can lead to chimney damage and what you can do to prevent them:

1. Creosote

Creosote is a waste product which is a byproduct of burning wood. It can build up on the sides of your flue and firebox. This can lead to blockages which can then catch fire themselves or spread the fire to the rest of your home.

This can be prevented by regularly sweeping and cleaning. Removing the buildups which form inside the flue and on the other chimney surfaces can save you a lot of money in potential repairs.

2. Animals

Animals such as birds or squirrels can cause issues by either nesting or becoming stuck in your chimney. This can lead to problems such as blockages which can then cause fires. The noise and smells which animals can produce can be an issue.

By purchasing and installing a chimney cap, animals can be prevented from entering your flue system.

3. Rain

Another issue which a chimney cap can prevent is the damage caused by rainwater.

When water enters your chimney system, it can cause a number of issues, of which, cracking to concrete is the most serious. This can happen due to freeze-thaw weathering; when water gets into cracks in your cement, freezes and then expands. Freeze-thaw weathering can lead to cracking if left unchecked. A chimney cap can stop water getting into your system in the first place.

4. Settlement

As your home settles, cracks and gaps can form within your chimney system. This can allow poisonous gases or smoke to vent into the home.

By having your chimney checked often, these issues can be identified and addressed before they lead to health concerns. Restoration or refurbishment work will be required to remedy the hazards caused by settlement.

5. Misuse

A common cause of many chimney problems is people using their fireplace in an incorrect or unsafe manner.

Using a fireplace to dispose of rubbish is the most frequently encountered problem. This can lead to increased levels of creosote being deposited on your flue, causing blockages to build up much more quickly. Building larger fires can also lead to this increased creosote buildups. This can be avoided by building fires of an appropriate size.

A lot of chimney related problems stem from a lack of maintenance; having your flue cleaned on a regular basis can prevent a lot of costly issues from happening further down the line. PR


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