Chimneys can bring on some common home maintenance problems. We’ve compiled a list of the most common chimney problems because being aware of a chimney problem allows you to address it early rather than waiting for major damage or a major emergency — like a chimney fire or carbon monoxide buildup — to occur.
- Creosote buildup. The most common, and most dangerous, chimney problem is a buildup of creosote along chimney walls. Creosote is an unavoidable byproduct of a wood-burning fire, and it is also highly flammable. Creosote can cause chimney fires, prevent carbon monoxide from venting properly, an unpleasant smell during warm-weather months and corrosion in your chimney. The only way to prevent serious problems from creosote is to have your chimney swept at least once a year.
- Chimney obstruction. Chimneys, especially unused chimneys, are susceptible to blockages from a variety of sources. Animals can build nests in chimneys, or make their way in and become stuck. Leaves and twigs can build up in a chimney. A blocked chimney can lead to a chimney fire or cause smoke and carbon monoxide to flow back into your home. Again, an annual chimney cleaning and inspection is the only way to be sure your chimney remains unobstructed.
- Eroding chimney liner. Most new chimneys are constructed with clay tile liners. The tiles are effective and durable, but they can break down over time from the heat of your fires, a buildup of moisture or acidic fire byproducts like smoke and creosote. Even stainless steel chimney liners can break down over time. A compromised chimney liner allows the heat and smoke from your fires to leach into your home’s infrastructure, which can be a serious fire hazard. Your annual chimney sweeping and inspection can help ensure your chimney liner is in good working order. If it isn’t, there are several easy and affordable ways to repair or replace your damaged chimney liner.
- Cracked or crumbling chimney crown or chase cover. If you have a masonry chimney, it’s topped with a masonry chimney crown that diverts water away from the flue and helps keep water from running down the outer walls of the chimney. On a factory-built chimney, a metal chase cover serves the same purpose. Because chimney crowns and chase covers are exposed to the elements, they can crack, crumble or corrode over time, requiring replacement. An un-repaired chimney crown or chase cover can lead to major water damage for your chimney or your home.
- Worn chimney cap. A chimney cap covers your chimney like a little roof, generally supported by a metal case. It prevents rain from running down the interior of your chimney and keeps animals and debris out of your flue. Like the crown or chase cover, the chimney cap can become worn or displaced over time because it’s exposed to the elements. Because of its role in protecting your chimney, a worn chimney cap should be replaced immediately.
When it comes to avoiding or correcting chimney problems, the most important thing you can do to protect your chimney is to have it cleaned and inspected annually. When you call the experts at A to Z, we’ll clear away creosote and debris and alert you of any dangers compromising your chimney. We’re proud to serve Sacramento, CA, and the surrounding areas. Give us a call today: (916) 850-2446.