How To Solve 2 Common Chimney Problems

Posted on: 29 January 2015


Two of the most common chimney problems faced by homeowners are a build-up of creosote and water leakage. Besides being a nuisance, these two problems can cause a host of other issues, ranging from minor wallpaper damage to a major chimney fire. The following guide explains possible causes for your chimney problems and ways to solve them.

Problem #1: Creosote Build-Up

A build-up of creosote deposits inside your chimney is a common, but potentially serious problem that should never be ignored. Creosote is a sticky, black substance that builds up in chimneys over airtight fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. This greasy, wood-tar condensate forms when wood-burning gases cool inside the chimney.

Since creosote is a flammable substance, it becomes a potential fire hazard if you don't remove it. When these deposits are allowed to continue building up on the inner walls of your chimney, they can ignite when you use your fireplace or wood stove.

One of the best ways to prevent the risk of a creosote fire is by having your chimney professionally cleaned regularly. How often you should have your chimney cleaned really depends on several factors, including:

  • Amount of wood you burn
  • Temperature of fires in your fireplace or wood stove
  • Condition of the wood being burned
  • Condition of your chimney

For many homeowners, a yearly inspection and cleaning is enough to prevent an excess of creosote deposits inside the chimney. However, depending on the above factors, you may need to have it cleaned more often than that.

Problem #2: Chimney Water Leaks

There are a number of potential causes for chimney water leaks, so it's necessary to identify the type of leak in order to diagnose and solve the underlying problem. A few common types of leaks include:

  • Rain falling straight down the chimney: Your chimney cover may be damaged or you might have an uncovered flue.
  • Ceiling leaks around the chimney: Aluminum flashing is often used to cover the gap between the bricks of your chimney's structure and your roof. Your flashing may be damaged or the roofing tar used to seal the area may need to be reinforced.
  • Wet walls surrounding the chimney: If the walls around the chimney in your home are getting wet, this is likely caused by water condensation. This is often caused by a damaged or inadequate chimney liner.

Do not neglect your chimney because minor issues will eventually become costly problems to fix. Get on a regular chimney cleaning and inspection schedule (from specialists such as AAAA Dave's Chimney Service) so potential problems can be pinpointed and solved before they worsen. This way, you can avoid the risk of property damage and protect your investment.