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Common Chimney Problems

It is common that since you do not use your chimney everyday, you may not think about the repairs that come along with it.  The worst part is that if you let these repairs go without attention they could potentially worsen and cause damage to the chimney and to your home.

The first step is to have someone who is Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified.  You also want to make sure that they are someone that they are commonly recommended, so you know their work is always solid.  For chimney assistance, contact the professionals at Homestead Chimney Service today.

What can go wrong?

Being aware of the problems that will reveal themselves over the life of your chimney will help you be preventative and save money.

Being aware of the problems that will reveal themselves over the life of your chimney will help you be preventative and save money.

Even though you do not want to think about it, there are many things that can go wrong inside of your chimney that may look small and turn out to be big problems.  One of the main things is the water that can enter your home and cause mold to form.  If you live in an area that has extremely wet weather you will have to pay closer attention.  If your flashing becomes loose, cracked, or missing a professional may be able to caulk it is caught in time.  If not, it may need replacing.

Also, the bricks of the chimney can become cracked and a great place for water to collect.  Your technician will be able to examine the damage and figure out the proper way to fix it.  Lastly, they may suggest that you have a chimney cap installed to protect from water, animals, and debris.

After your chimney is fixed a water test it needed to see if any water is still absorbing into the unit, and if so you will probably be suggested to have it waterproofed.  Any experienced professional can do this in a day.  The sealant spray used will need at least six hours to dry so make sure you pick a day that has a dry forecast.

What happens if the repairs are not fixed?

Other than becoming a bigger issue in the chimney, the effects could eventually harm your entire home.  The mold that grows in the chimney can spread to the foundation of your home and the air you breathe.  Also, other broken parts or chimneys that have not been cleaned properly can start an unwanted fire. The best way to avoid these kinds of problems is to ensure regular maintenance to your chimney.


Does Your Chimney Make Your Nose Wrinkle?

The Types of Odors That Come from a Chimney


Anyone who has a fireplace in their home knows that they will occasionally deal with odors coming from their chimney. This can be an annoyance, but it is not something that must be tolerated. Understanding where the odors come from is the first step to eliminating them and enjoying the fireplace without unpleasant odors. However, this can be tricky since there are a variety of factors that can contribute to chimney odors.

Chimney Odor - South GA, North FL - Homestead Chimney Service

Chimney Odor – South GA, North FL – Homestead Chimney Service

In many cases, the odor in a chimney is caused by creosote, a combination of chemicals that is left behind after wood or coal burns in the fireplace. If creosote is the culprit, the smell will be very similar to the smell of a burning fire, but it will occur even when there has not been a fire in the fireplace for some time. In the summertime, the combination of humidity and air conditioning can intensify this smell and allow it to spread throughout the home. In order to avoid this, it is a good idea to have the chimney cleaned as a part of the spring-cleaning routine.

Other times, the smell coming from the chimney will be one that is distinctly of smoke, even long after there has been a fire burning. Many people who have this smell in their homes notice that it is worse when it has been raining or very windy. This is because the damp weather intensifies the odor of normal fireplace debris, such as soot and ash. The best way to avoid this is by having a rain cap installed, which will help keep the moisture out of the chimney.

One of the most unpleasant situations is to have a rotting smell coming from the chimney and the fireplace. This is almost always the sign of something decaying and it could range from simply dead leaves and plant matter to the debris of animals that have set up their homes in the chimney. If there is a rotting smell coming from the chimney, it is best to hire a chimney sweep to look into the problem. If it is, in fact, the result of animals living in the chimney, untrained homeowners could put themselves in danger by trying to remove the animals on their own. A chimney sweep will be able to take care of the problem, whatever it is, efficiently and safely.

All chimneys create odors when they have been used but the smell usually goes outside of the house instead of in. If it is working the opposite way, it may be that there is negative air pressure in the chimney. There can be many causes, but in many cases, it is because of home improvements that have impacted the air pressure. Oncoming storms may also cause a “flow reversal” of pressure, causing the smells to come through the fireplace. The best way to prevent this is to keep the damper closed. This may be a change in venting, the installation of new windows or fans or weatherization of the home. In order to solve the problem of negative air pressure, it is necessary to first identify the change to the home that has created it.

There are a few simple tips homeowners can follow to control the odors that come from their chimneys. One simple solution is to close the fireplace damper when it is not in use, keeping odors out of the home. Using glass screens can also be an effective way of keeping all smoke and odors where they belong. If combustion appliances are used in the home, be sure to set up outside combustion and avoid the issue of negative air pressure. Of course, a chimney cap is also an effective way of avoiding many sources of chimney odors, from rain to animals.

Some chimney odors can become such an issue that people avoid using their fireplaces all together. Instead of denying the family the pleasure of a warm fire during cold months, simply take steps to avoid chimney odors. They come from a variety of different places, from the air pressure to debris in the chimney, so it is important to properly identify the culprit before coming up with a plan of attack. Hiring a professional sweep can make life a lot easier on the homeowner by answering these questions more quickly…and with an eye toward the care of the chimney and your own well-being.

Why a Chimney Restoration May Be In Your Future

Most homeowners will have several indications by just looking at their chimney to see it is in need of restoration. These can include spalling or flaking of the brick and mortar as well as loose bricks and sometimes even missing bricks.

Chimney restorations are sometimes necessary

What you can’t see though might be the best indication that restoration of the chimney might be in your future. This is why we recommend a video inspection during the annual inspection process that is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association and Chimney Safety Institute of America. We are able to see what is going on inside the chimney from the firebox to the top of the flue and take detailed pictures so you are aware of the condition of your appliance from top to bottom and inside and out.

What we know from experience is that wood stoves and traditional fireplaces are subject to creosote buildup as well as other debris coming into the chimney if it has an open flue or any damage at the crown or chase. Allowing water in the system is one of the most damaging elements because masonry chimneys are susceptible to absorbing water and the inner working of all chimneys are made of metal, which in time will rust.

While restorations of a chimney can be costly, we cover all the options with homeowners so they are well informed and know what they are getting and why. The real expense comes when nothing is done about a broken system.

If the outer chimney is damaged beyond repair, it will need to be partially or fully rebuilt. There really is no other way to restore a masonry chimney but to relay the masonry components. If it’s the inner liner that is damaged, there are options depending on the type of liner you currently have and the total amount of damage. This is best discussed with your trusted chimney professional as they will have the information for your particular type of issue and the right options.