Why Is Debris Falling Down My Chimney?
A chimney can contain various types of “debris,” so if you’re having issues with stuff falling down into your firebox, first you need to identify what kind of “stuff” it is.
Common types of chimney debris
In most cases, there are only a few things that can get into (or form within) a chimney and cause falling debris issues.
- Chunks of brick and mortar
- Chunks of clay tiles or other chimney liner materials
- Soot and creosote
- c, fruit and other debris from nearby trees
- Small animals (alive or dead) and the materials they use to build nests
None of these necessarily points to an immediate danger – although they could. Any time you notice debris falling within your chimney flue, you should schedule a chimney inspection from a company or technician certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
Chimney structure problems
If the debris in question is parts of the chimney or the chimney liner, it means there is some level of deterioration going on. Chimneys take a lot of punishment over the years, and older chimneys often were built without a proper liner or with just a thin layer of masonry to protect the internal surfaces of the bricks and mortar.
Years of use can cause bricks to chip and fall away. The tiles of older clay liners can become loose and dislodge. If the debris you’re noticing is part of the chimney structure, a professional inspection will be able to determine the extent of the damage and find out if water infiltration is a problem that could be affecting adjacent materials of your home.
When there is a debris issue with an unlined chimney, often some minor chimney repair and the installation of a strong new stainless steel chimney liner will solve the problem.
Chimney sweeps and professional chimney services companies always encourage homeowners to have a proper chimney cap installed on their chimneys. A basic flue cap will keep debris out of the flue, but a full-width custom chimney cap protects not only the flue opening but also the chimney crown, which is prone to damage from rain and snow over time. With no chimney cap, debris from trees can infiltrate your chimney and accumulate to the point that some of it periodically falls down the flue.
Small animals also can enter un-capped chimneys and build their nests. Nest material, live critters such as squirrels, birds and snakes, as well as these animals who have been unable to get out of the chimney and have died all can become debris that falls into your firebox. A secure chimney cap solves these problems.
Creosote and soot
Wood-burning fireplaces cause creosote and soot to build up inside the flue. Large amounts of these substances can dislodge and fall down through the chimney. A greater concern is the fact that creosote is highly flammable and is the cause of most chimney fires in the U.S. each year. Creosote and soot are properly addressed by scheduling annual chimney sweep (cleaning) services. Professional chimney sweeps have the tools and skill to safely remove flammable substances from your flue.
If you’re having problems with any kind of debris falling down your chimney, call Hudson Valley Chimney of Poughkeepsie, NY. We specialize in chimney cleaning, chimney repair and CSIA-certified chimney inspection. We’ll keep your chimney clean and safe all year long. Call us today at (845) 471-1071.