Chimneys are one of the most neglected and underestimated aspects of a house that needs regular cleaning. They can be a lovely and practical addition to your house, but they also come with additional duties. 

Much like any other structures in your home, chimneys become worn out over time, especially if used frequently. Most chimney problems don’t show obvious signs until they are already severe. 

This is why we always recommend annual professional chimney cleaning and inspection, whether you have an open fire or a wood-burning stove.

In this article, we will go over some common chimney problems, like creosote buildup, cracked flue, and broken crowns.

Common Chimney Problems:

Broken Crown or Cap

Your chimney stack is usually finished off with a chimney cap. If no cap is fitted, it is referred to as a chimney crown. The components of the chimney that are most prone to damage are the crown and cap. They are outdoors; thus, they are exposed to various elements, which is the main reason they are damaged. The most common issue encountered with these parts is cracking.

A cracked crown or cap makes moisture easy to enter the chimney system. When this occurs, the brickwork and lining of your chimney and nearby structures like the walls and ceiling may sustain significant damage. It’s preferable to take care of this issue as soon as possible to avoid expensive repairs or from the problem escalating into something much more serious.

Chimney Blockage

Proper drafting won’t occur in your chimney if there is a blockage. Instead of smoke leaving your home, toxic gases become trapped inside. This problem needs to be addressed as soon as possible, as it can jeopardize your life and your property. For starters, exposure to these gases, mainly carbon monoxide, can endanger you and your family’s health; worst-case scenario, it can even take their lives. Over the years, numerous deaths caused by carbon monoxide intrusion in homes with blocked chimneys have occurred.

Meanwhile, one of the leading causes of chimney fires is obstruction brought on by creosote build-up. Burning fossil fuels like coal and wood produces creosote, a mixture of tar and soot. This buildup of material inside the flue is highly flammable.

A collapsed flue and the presence of a bird’s nest can also obstruct the chimney in addition to creosote buildup. The obstruction may also be the result of design issues. For instance, ambient updraft may prevent smoke from leaving the building if the chimney is too short.

At Touch of Glass, we also sell and install chimney cowls besides conducting a thorough chimney cleaning. Chimney cowls help increase the chimney’s draft, prevent downdraft, and especially prevent birds, squirrels and other animals from nesting in your chimney cavity.

Chimney Flue Liner Problems

The flue liner is one of the most critical parts of the chimney. It is responsible for moving heat and gases up and out of your home. However, the primary function of the chimney liner is to shield the chimney and other flammable components of the house from heat and corrosion. Additionally, it lessens the chance of the masonry cracking or even collapsing.

Chimney flue liners, particularly those made of stainless steel, can last a lifetime. However, it is not unusual for them to deteriorate, especially ceramic ones, if they are not regularly and correctly maintained.

When identifying flue liner problems, a particular type of camera is needed, which is generally owned by professional chimney sweep contractors. To thoroughly inspect your chimney flue for any stress points, cracks or holes, and occasionally even animals, Touch of Glass has the necessary tools and high-tech cameras to conduct the job. During the chimney flue inspection, any areas where we see issues will be discussed with you, and we will provide you with the proper solutions to get your chimney in tip-top shape. We will also provide you with CCTV certified video recorded footage, which can be used for insurance purposes.

So, if you suspect that your chimney liner might be cracked or damaged, call us for a thorough chimney cleaning service.

Damaged Flashing

Flashing is a type of roof flashing that creates a waterproof seal to protect your chimney from water damage and penetration. It is usually made up of aluminium, steel, vinyl or lead.

A leaky flashing may significantly impact your chimney’s structural integrity. Additionally, it may result in the collapse of your roof, attic, and any affected nearby structures. Detecting a leaky flashing is hard to identify, especially in its early stage, which is why a regular chimney inspection is required to determine the issue before it worsens.

As the leading cause of leaky flashing is improper installation, you should only hire experienced professionals to ensure the flashing is installed correctly in your home. An adequately laid chimney flashing can last up to 20-30 years, depending on the maintenance, of course.

Schedule a chimney sweep and inspection

We understand that it is common for homeowners to neglect chimney maintenance. But to be able to avoid all these common chimney problems, regular inspection and cleaning are required. 

Hire a trusted chimney inspection company in Ireland, like Touch of Glass, before all those mentioned problems above get worse. Our chimney inspection is available to counties Laois, Tipperary, Offaly, Carlow, Kilkenny, Kildare and Westmeath. Call us today at +353 087 7725264 or +353 05786 63879.