8 Signs You Need Chimney Sweeping and Repairs

Fire burning in the fireplace

Chimneys are a great way to keep your house warm and cozy during the winter. They also boost your property’s curb appeal and value. However, having a chimney means you’ll have spend time and energy on maintenance to ensure optimal performance.

Chimneys usually last longer when maintained well. The signs of chimney damage or blockage are clear—which is why you should be able to identify and address the issue immediately. If a chimney is damaged or gets choked up, the signs can be very clear to notice.

In this blog, let’s take a look at the signs when a chimney cleaning or repair is required.

Signs That Indicate Chimney Cleaning is Required

1. Oily Spots on the Fireplace Wall

Creosote buildup can be identified by the presence of oily spots on the walls of your fireplace in the chimney. Creosote is a mixture of carbon-based chemicals and poses health hazards to residents of the house. It can also easily catch fire if heated.

If there’s excessive creosote in your chimney, it can block the airflow, resulting in fumes and smoke making their way into your house. Get your chimney thoroughly cleaned to avoid this.

2. A Fire That Burns Badly

A fire can burn poorly or take time to start due for a number of reasons. Among those is the poor supply of oxygen in the fireplace.

A chimney clog can restrict airflow, resulting in less oxygen reaching the fireplace. Since oxygen is necessary for burning, a lack of it can make the fire burn badly.

3. Odor In and Near the Fireplace

If the creosote in the fireplace catches fire, it will release a campfire-like odor. This means the fire should be put out and the fireplace needs to be cleaned immediately to avoid house fires.

Approximately 22,000 house fires are reported every year in the United States and creosote buildup is a major reason behind them.

Black-colored creosote build-up in the fireplace

4. Animals or Debris in the Chimney

A chimney blockage can occur due to a number of reasons, like animals residing in them or birds building a nest inside it.

Chimneys are often unused in the spring and summer. During that, small animals like squirrels or mice can make their way into the chimney and start living there. Birds can make their nests inside or on top as well.

If you don’t have a chimney cap installed, debris like leaves and twigs from nearby trees can fall into your chimney and block passage of air as well. All of this results in blocked airflow and can be cleared with a thorough sweep only.

5. Black Chimney Damper

If your chimney damper has turned black, it indicates there’s a creosote build-up in the chimney, and needs to be cleaned immediately.

Signs That Indicate a Chimney Needs Repair

1. Masonry Degradation

Your chimney’s masonry will degrade given that it’s exposed to harsh weather conditions throughout the year.

The masonry absorbs moisture from the air, so even if you live in a place where it doesn’t rain a lot, your masonry may still see water damage. Water damage can cause other problems too, like mold growth.

If your masonry has degraded, it’s best you get it repaired before any accident occurs causing bigger losses and health risks.

2. Cracked Crown

A cracked crown is another sign of your masonry needing repair. It’s installed to stop water, debris, or animals getting inside the chimney. When the crown is worn out or cracked, water can seep in.

A chimney with a damaged crown and mortar joints

3. Worn Mortar

The chimney’s bricks are held together by mortar. When the mortar breaks off or is worn out, the bricks can become loose and start to fall off.

Mortar can become worn out or damaged because of moisture or water damage. Another major reason for mortar joint damage is the freeze and thaw process after winter. Water often makes way between mortar joints and freezes, making the mortar joints expand. When the temperature goes back up, the ice melts, leaving spaces in the mortar joints.

If the mortar joints of your chimney are damaged or worn out, make sure you get them repaired immediately.

If you notice any of these signs, don’t hesitate to call Creative Masonry & Chimney. They are a professional chimney service operating in Connecticut for over 20 years. They provide chimney cleaning, chimney repair, chimney restoration, chimney rebuild, fireplace remodeling, and more. You can get in touch with their team for more information.