A chimney is one of the least understood parts of the home. Many people are not sure how to properly care for their chimney, how to maintain it, or what the signs of potential chimney trouble are. Here are three common issues that arise with chimneys and the signs that you may be dealing with this issue:

A Dirty Chimney

A dirty chimney is one of the most common issues that arise with chimneys. Chimneys need to be routinely cleaned to keep them free of soot, debris, and residue. However, each and every chimney needs to be cleaned on a different schedule based on how often your chimney is used, how well air flows through the stack and how dirty and dusty it is where you live. As a general rule of thumb, you want to have your chimney cleaned if there is a layer of soot that is at least 1/4 inch thick on the walls of the chimney. Take a flashlight, pop your head in a completely cooled fireplace, turn the flashlight on and look at the walls. You can typically tell if the soot and ash are thick, and if not, you can run your finger along the walls to gauge the thickness. 

A Blocked Chimney

Another common issue related to chimneys is a blocked chimney. There are a couple of reasons why the chimney can be blocked. First, the chimney may not have been cleaned in some time. Debris, ash or soot may be so thick that a clog has formed in the stack. Secondly, a pest, such as a bird, may have made a nest somewhere in your chimney, creating a blockage. If you light a fire in your chimney and there is a blockage, your home will typically fill with smoke. This is because the blockage prevents smoke from going up the stack and out. If you experience this issue, discontinue use of the chimney until the problem is addressed. 

A Leaking Chimney

The last issue that is fairly common with chimneys is a leaking chimney. If there is a crack in the mortar on the chimney, water can leak in through the chimney. If it is not raining, you may notice a lot of cold air suddenly coming from the fireplace. Once the rain begins, you will likely see a puddle at the bottom of your fireplace. A professional will need to come in to determine where the leak is and how to best fix it, based on its location and the condition and age of your fireplace. 

If you are showing signs of any of these issues, it is important to stop using your chimney and contact a chimney repair service. They can take a look at your chimney, determine why you are encountering the issue and how to solve it. In some cases, a simple cleaning will solve the problem, while in other cases, repairs are needed. 

Contact a company like G.H. Erickson & Son for more information and assistance.