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4 Warning Signs that You Need Chimney Repair

To ensure that your chimney is safe and operating at peak capacity, be aware of these four warning signs of chimney trouble.

Brick and mortar issues

Chimney Masonry Repair in Marlborough NY in Cracks, looseness, crumbling and any other compromises in the bricks and mortar that make up your physical chimney can lead to serious problems down the line. A primary concern is water leaks and subsequent damage to the chimney and nearby building materials within your home.

Small cracks in the bricks and mortar will allow water to seep in and freeze and expand, causing further damage. Water from rain and snow is destructive and must be kept out of the masonry. Tuck-pointing restores the chimney mortar protecting against water damage and revitalizing the appearance of the masonry.

Chimney damage that goes unaddressed can eventually result in a chimney collapse.

Sluggish drafting of smoke/smoke backups

If smoke is backing up into your room when you use your fireplace, it’s usually because of one of six things:

  • The flue is blocked
  • The house is too air-tight to allow for a proper draft; you’re creating a negative draft with stove fans, clothes dryers, etc.
  • The air in the flue is too cold (warm it up with a lit, rolled-up newspaper or hairdryer)
  • You’re generating too much smoke for the flue by burning damp firewood or non-firewood materials
  • The fireplace damper isn’t fully open
  • The flue is the wrong size for the fireplace (have the system inspected)

Where fireplace blockages are concerned, flues can become obstructed by excess creosote, which forms when wood fires burn, as well as by outside debris such as leaves, twigs and the nests of birds, squirrels and other small animals.

If debris is the cause of the blockage, you need a professional chimney technician to inspect and clean your flue. Aside from flue-sizing, you can solve the rest of the problems on your own.

Chimney leaks

Chimney Inspection in Germantown NYChimney leaks are caused by any event or problem that allows water to move into the system. Brick and mortar damage is a common reason, and so are:

  • Damaged or missing chimney cap
  • Cracks in the concrete chimney crown
  • Warped or missing chimney flashing

If you’re seeing leaky chimney signs, you should have your chimney inspected before using the fireplace again.

Avoid chimney water damage by looking for these signs:

  • Water in the firebox
  • White staining (efflorescence) on the exterior mortar
  • Damp areas of the ceiling or walls near the fireplace
  • Musty odors coming from the firebox
  • A squeaky (rusty) hard-to-operate damper

Recurring chimney fires

A chimney can experience a fire without people in the home knowing about it. Flammable creosote that’s allowed to accumulate in the flue is the most common cause of these fires.

Even the smallest chimney fire can begin to damage the chimney liner, interior masonry and home building materials adjacent to the chimney.

There are two ways for you to address chimney fires. First, help to prevent them by having your chimney professionally cleaned (swept) once a year or on the schedule your chimney technician recommends.

Second, be aware of the signs of a chimney fire, which include:

  • Strange tapping or clicking noises
  • A rumbling sound like from a distant train
  • Excess dark smoke coming from either end of the chimney

If you notice any of these signs, call 911 immediately and then put out the fire in the fireplace if you can do so safely.

The service and care your chimney needs

Hudson Valley Chimney of Poughkeepsie, NY, is ready to help with all your chimney problems. We offer licensed chimney inspections, chimney cleaning and all types of repairs and rebuilding work.

Call (845) 471-1071 and speak with a local chimney expert.

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