Chimney Problems that Require a Chimney Sweep

chimney problemsHave you ever wondered, what’s wrong with my chimney? At Chimney Sweeps of America in Denver, Colorado, we can help you figure out the answer to that question. These troubleshooting tips will help you determine if you have chimney problems and when it’s time to call the experts.

Chimney Problems & Mortar Joints

Trouble with the mortar joints is a serious problem. But if you catch issues early, masonry repairs can be made without too much trouble.

To find out if you have problems with the mortar joints, inspect your chimney. Do you see any cracks? Even little ones aren’t good. Over time, water will get down in there, freeze, expand, and create a bigger crack. Eventually, it will be big enough that it could break under the weight of your chimney.

Any chimney sweep worth their salt should inspect mortar joints whenever they clean a chimney and be able to answer your question, what’s wrong with my chimney. If you don’t know whether your chimney sweep is inspecting the joints, ask to make sure. If they aren’t already inspecting, you should find a new chimney sweep.

Chimney Problems Affecting the Liner

You can have major problems with your chimney liner, particularly if you have a tile one. This material cracks easier with the constantly changing temperatures. A big enough crack can be a fire hazard.

If you have a stainless steel liner, which most newer installations do, the possibility of damage is less. However, still keep an eye on it.

The trouble is, it’s hard to inspect a chimney liner yourself. Back in the day, chimney sweeps used to shine a bright light down the chimney to inspect the liner. Now that cameras can be inserted into a chimney, all the cracks and problems not found with the old method show up easily now. For this reason, it is better to have a professional take a look if you suspect a problem with your liner.

Chimney Problems with Bricks and Tiles

Shaling tiles refers to when thin pieces of your tile liner break off. This problem is pretty easy to catch as you’ll see the broken bits piling up at the bottom of the chimney.

The same problem can occur with bricks on the outside of the chimney. In this case, it is called spalling. This issue is even easier to see. The only way to fix it is to replace the bad sections of brick. Make sure to waterproof the chimney well, so it doesn’t happen again.

Chimney Problems Shown in the Crown

The crown of the chimney is your first line of defense against water damage. It’s also easy to catch problems and get them fixed. It just makes sense to keep up on the crown as you’ll save yourself from wondering what’s wrong with my chimney.

So what is it? The chimney crown is that cement piece that sits horizontally over your chimney. Its purpose is to keep everything out. That includes water, birds, small animals, and debris. Because of its position, it takes quite a bit of abuse from the elements, but that’s the point. It protects the rest of your chimney, i.e., the more expensive to fix parts of your chimney from damage.

Head up onto your roof and take a moment to inspect your crown (or send a professional). Even small cracks will eventually cause problems. Just as with the mortar joints, water freezing in the cracks will cause them to worsen over time. However, there are special coatings you can get to paint over the crown. These are inexpensive and a great way to protect against further and more expensive troubles.

Chimney Problems with Firebricks in the Fireplace

Eventually, your firebricks will crack and break. This can be from uneven heat expansion or from striking them with logs as you build a fire. Regardless, it is normal and simply a fact of owning a fireplace. Keep an eye on them as you’re building a fire and replace them as you notice problems.

Chimney Problems with Caused by Flashing Problems

The flashing is a piece of metal that goes around the chimney at the point where it exits your roof. Its purpose is similar to the crown. The chimney passing through your roof makes a weak spot where water can get down into the roof. The flashing is there to provide a layer of protection against this.

Eventually, the metal will weaken from exposure to heat and the weather. Make sure your chimney sweep inspects the flashing each time they clean the chimney. Replacing and or repairing the flashing is relatively easy to do and inexpensive.

Chimney Problems that Effect the Wallpaper

If you’re wondering what’s wrong with my chimney, remember that not all problems materialize inside your chimney or up on your roof. If you notice issues in your home, particularly with any wallpaper surrounding your chimney, you may need repairs.

There are two possible causes. The first is that moisture is entering through the crown or flashing and they need to be repaired. The second is that excessive condensation is building up inside the chimney and escaping. This more commonly happens in gas flues. The solution is to replace or put in a new liner.

Routine Inspections by a Certified Chimney Sweep

Routine inspections are so important. Most, if not all, chimney problems can be caught early by a certified professional. You can even catch some yourself if you keep an eye out for the things we’ve mentioned here.

The price of professional chimney inspections is worth it. Extensive chimney repairs can get expensive quickly so catching problems early is key to saving money. Plus, with having your chimney cleaned regularly, just roll it all into one visit.

Chimney Sweeps of America is always on hand to help you answer the question, what’s wrong with my chimney? Give us a call today to set up an appointment. One of our friendly professionals will answer your questions and schedule your house call.

Don’t be left in the cold this winter because of a few pesky chimney problems.  With more than 30 years of experience, we know how to clean your chimney thoroughly and inspect it for potential problems. There is a reason that our customers love us!

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