There really is nothing like sitting by a warm, cozy fire all throughout the winter. A fireplace adds so much to make a house feel like home. But there are also more than 25,000 chimney fires every year across the country, which is why it's so important to take care of your system as much as possible.
It can be difficult to know when it's time to call in a chimney repair professional since most of the system is hidden inside and the parts that are exposed aren't in our daily sightlines.
For that reason, we've compiled a list of the top six signs your chimney needs worked on to help you stay on top of the maintenance so you can enjoy it for years to come without worry of danger!
1. Mortar Looks Worn
One of the most obvious signs of a broken chimney is when the mortar between the bricks starts to look worn out. As it ages there will begin to be holes throughout where the mortar is missing altogether or large cracks in other areas.
This aging and wearing out is a natural thing that will likely happen to all mortar but it can quickly deteriorate even further if not taken care of. When that happens it can start to affect the brick, which is then a big safety hazard. The mortar problems are the first sign that things are needing some help and repairs.
Most chimney repair companies have the ability to fix these kinds of masonry problems and restore your chimney to its former glory!
2. Rusted Fireplace Parts
While issues with the mortar can be easy to see from the outside, rust isn't as easy to see but can be as big of a problem. Unless you have a chimney inspection regularly, you'll likely miss any rust that's up higher in the chimney but you may see signs from the fireplace itself.
When you notice any rust on the firebox or fireplace, it's a sign that there's been some kind of moisture introduced. Generally speaking, this excess moisture is never a good thing and can lead to even bigger problems.
At the very least, you should call a chimney repair company to check out the rusty chimney to assess the situation and determine the best course of action moving forward.
3. Shaling Inside Fireplace
If you're unfamiliar with chimneys and the terminology associated with their issues and care, you've probably never heard of shaling before. But it's an important thing to be aware of and pay attention to.
Shaling occurs when you can see thin slices of the flue tiles on the fireplace floor. It's almost as if the chimney is shedding the tiles as they fall off. It's caused when the flue liner is damaged and water has been present behind the tiles. As the water changes temperatures and expands, it loosens the tiles which causes them to fall.
A damaged liner is a very big safety risk, so getting any shaling checked out fast is important. The best way to check for these problems is by a professional with a specific camera that can travel up the flue.
4. White Stains Throughout
Fireplaces and chimneys aren't inherently clean places. They fill up with ash, smoke stains, and other grime as they're used, that's natural and nothing to be concerned about.
But proper chimney and fireplace maintenance is done with regular cleanings to clear away some of that debris to be able to clearly see what's going on. And also avoid unwanted fires.
If you've done your proper cleaning and there are still white stains throughout the fireplace, you need to call in a professional. These stains can be a clear sign of excess moisture coming in from the outside. As we've mentioned, that kind of moisture can start to cause structural problems that can be potential hazards.
5. Obvious Cracks and Holes
Similar to the worn-out mortar between the bricks, it's good to keep a close eye on the bricks themselves for obvious signs of damage. The chimney places the most important role in fire safety, so making sure it has the ability to function how it's supposed to is key.
When you see cracks, holes, or even missing bricks on your chimney it might be tempting to ignore them thinking it will be too expensive of a project. But even the slightest damage to your chimney can be a real, big issue.
Getting an estimate for the cost of chimney repair will likely surprise you and give you the confidence you need to move forward with the repairs to be able to confidently use your fireplace again.
6. Not Functioning Properly
As we've talked about, a large portion of the fireplace and chimney system is hidden within the walls which makes it difficult to know if there is a problem, what's the cause, or how severe it is.
When there is a hidden problem, it's likely that your fireplace is acting different than it usually does. Maybe you're having a hard time getting the fire going or there's more smoke than usual. Whatever the case may be, it's important to pay attention to and take action when there seems to be something not working right.
The simplest clue can be a big indicator for problems, so keeping an eye out is always a good idea!
Signs It's Time for Chimney Repair
Having a chimney and fireplace in your home is a huge added bonus, especially if you live in a colder climate when you can take advantage of the extra heat.
The great thing about these systems is that they are built to last for extremely long periods of time and require so little maintenance. That's why it's so important to get chimney repair work done as soon as you notice the problems. This will keep everything running smooth and avoid any major damage down the road.
If you think you're in need of a chimney repair company, contact us today for a consultation and to schedule an appointment!