Your chimney is often a part of your home that gets neglected. Lots of people think about the roof of their home, but they don’t think about the chimney. However, it’s important that you take the time to look after your chimney. It will need repairing sometimes, but how do you know when to schedule maintenance? Let’s take a look at some of the common indicators.

The Mortar Joints

If the mortar joints of your chimney begin to fail, then you have a problem that needs correcting immediately. When your mortar joints start to disintegrate, moisture can seep into the chimney. This not only accelerates the development of other problems, but could contribute to a collapsed chimney.

You see, the mortar is what holds the bricks of your chimney together. So, if water gets into a small crack in the chimney, then during cold weather, it will freeze. If you freeze water, it expands and widens the crack. Therefore, after this happens a few times, the chimney becomes damaged enough to collapse.


Spalling Problems

Another issue surrounding moisture is when spalling happens. Spalling is where water winds up getting into the brick or stone of the chimney. When this happens, you will start to notice there are pieces of masonry which can fall off the chimney. The problem with this is that it can occur with pretty much any type of masonry, so you have to keep an eye on things.


A big problem with moisture is the process causes rust. Lots of chimneys don’t have masses of metal in them, so the places that you need to check for rust are the damper and firebox.

Both of these are highly susceptible to rust because they are made of metal. If you noticed that your damper is getting harder to use, or just won’t seal up properly, this might be because of rust.

This can be very problematic. A rusted out or cracked flu will eventually destroy the flu lining entirely. This will put you at risk of a fire in your home, because heat will sleep through the chimney into places it should not be. You can seal your metal to help prevent rust, but once it has eaten away at the metal, you do have to replace it.

If you can spot the rest quickly before it becomes a problem, then you can get a whole new firebox.

Damaged Walls

Take a proper look at the walls near your chimney on a regular basis to make sure that they are looked after and without damage. It’s a good idea to take a proper look after it’s been raining heavily as well. If there are extra traces of moisture inside the chimney, then it will show up as damage to either the paint wallpaper. If discolouration is happening, this means that your chimney isn’t properly sealed anymore and shouldn’t be used until you can repair it.


If the chimney is looking a little bit different these days, probably due to discolouration, it means something is wrong. Discolouration can be for a variety of different reasons, ranging from simple water damage to heat reaching parts of the home that it shouldn’t. In either case, the reason is largely irrelevant, because you are still going to have to look into repairs.

Shaling Problems

If you have an older chimney which has a tiled flu lining, then it could be vulnerable to what’s called shelling. If this happens, you will start to notice that there are bits of tile that fall down into the fireplace, and this is a good sign to start checking the inside of your chimney. You may want to think about switching to a stainless steel flue liner if you do wind up having to replace the interior.

If you notice signs of shaling, then a professional should come and take a look at your chimney. They can use a camera that can go up to the pipe and confirm where the damage is, how bad it is, and how to fix it. You should avoid using your chimney during this period

Cracking in the Chimney Crown

This part of the process is going to require you to actually be on your roof to take a look at the crown of your chimney, so you may want to leave this up to a professional. However, if you do this, then it’s worth taking a look for any signs of damage or cracks to the crown. This could cause water to get into the chimney. It’s important to make sure that you take a look at the crown properly, because this can be the biggest contributor of moisture inside the chimney.

It is generally recommended that you inspect Crown for damage at least twice a day to make sure you catch signs of potential damage early on. This helps you to repair it before you have any bigger issues.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you have plenty of different warning signs that your chimney needs maintenance and repair. Taking too long to repair your chimney when it is clearly damaged will result in not only a lack of energy efficiency, but also put you at risk of things like fire.

Unfortunately, owning a chimney means that you have to be very responsible with it, and make sure that you get it repaired and maintained on a regular basis. If you do have any repairs that you need doing, you are welcome to contact us, but it’s important to be vigilant and look out for signs of damage. Things like discolouration inside your home or pieces of tile falling through are clear signs that something is seriously wrong.

The chimney is a very important part of the home, and it can do a lot of good, but you do have to look after it to make sure it’s kept in the best condition for as long as possible. Maintenance is inevitable, but spotting the signs early can help to prevent serious damage.



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