Have you taken a good look at your chimney lately? If you’re like most homeowners with a chimney on the property, your answer could very well be no. There are a million other things to think about, and every one of them is more important than the chimney. Why waste time thinking about something so trivial?
Except that chimneys don’t maintain themselves — and they do require work from time to time. Otherwise, little problems can build up into big ones – and before you know it, you’ve got a serious problem that requires extensive (and costly) professional help.
It’s much easier to stay on top of routine chimney maintenance when you have a basic understanding of what ordinary chimney repairs entail. By taking a closer look at the five most common chimney repairs, you can avoid those frustrating situations where spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to repair your chimney suddenly becomes necessary.
The most common problem with household chimneys is when they become blocked. This can happen in various ways. A black or brown tar called Creosote can build up in the chimney lining over time, eventually clogging the chimney leading to chimney fires. Other potential blockages include leaves, debris, nests, and bricks or stone from old masonry. Any of these blockages can lead to serious and potentially dangerous problems, including the presence of carbon monoxide in the home. Routine chimney maintenance is the best way to prevent blockages.
2. Cracked Flue
Some chimneys have a lining of stainless steel, which is a very robust solution and will almost never break down. But the majority of chimney linings are still made of clay, which is susceptible to damage given the constant high temperatures to which they are subjected. The resulting cracks are a particularly dangerous problem. They can allow fire to reach through the chimney and catch hold of flammable building materials, and can also generate carbon monoxide in the home. A cracked flue is something that definitely needs to be repaired as soon as possible.
3. Crumbling masonry
It’s true that quality masonry can last a very long time, but not all of the masonry out there is done right. When low-quality mortar is used, or when the masonry is simply not done to a high professional standard, it can begin to crumble and deteriorate prematurely. This creates moisture problems in the chimney, affects the brickwork, and can eventually cause serious problems with the functionality of the chimney.
The right professional help
There are certain aspects of chimney maintenance that should never be attempted without the proper expertise and equipment. Other tasks may be undertaken on a DIY basis if you’re absolutely sure of what you’re doing. Most homeowners choose the more secure and trustworthy solution for all of their chimney upkeep requirements. Namely, hiring an experienced and highly trained chimney specialist who gives straight answers and only recommends maintenance or repairs that are truly necessary to save you time and money in the long run — and most importantly, to keep your family and your home safe.