Moving into a house that has a fireplace can be exciting, and you might want to get a fire going right away. However, if you aren't used to having a fireplace, you may not realize when there is trouble with the chimney that needs to be addressed. Use the following information to notice signs that your chimney may need professional attention.
Cracks in the Mortar
If this is the first fireplace you've lived with, you may think it's normal to see cracks in the mortar, the concrete-like substance that holds all the bricks in your chimney together. You might think it's a sign of normal wear and tear.
However, cracks may be the first visible signs that there could be a problem with the integrity of your chimney. If you go outside and see cracks in the chimney mortar, be aware that humidity and rainwater might be infiltrating the chimney, which could weaken it and cause structural damage.
You may notice moisture indoors if you have wallpaper attached to the walls that are next to your fireplace and chimney. You might notice that there is wrinkling, peeling or bubbling due to chimney mortar problems.
Visible Flue Tiles
If you are about to start a fire and notice clay flue tiles in the fireplace, you might have a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Clay flue tiles form an internal liner for your chimney. The tiles should stay in place so that your chimney is properly insulated. Should the tiles be falling into the fireplace, due to cracking or flaking, that leaves gaps in between the remaining tiles. Without all the tiles in place, gases from your fire may creep into your home.
If you see tiles, it's a smart idea to contact a professional as soon as you can. They may replace the tiles with metal or otherwise ensure that the flue is lined properly so that gases and soot heads outdoors as they should.
Chimney Crown Cracks
The cement that is at the top of your chimney, or crown, can be a source of problems for the entire chimney. The crown is always exposed to the elements, and cracks in that area can allow water to seep into bricks and mortar. You can suspect this is happening if you notice bricks coming off the chimney for seemingly no reason. To know for sure if there is a problem with your crown, you or a professional will have to get on the roof and inspect it.
If you are seeing any of the things mentioned in this article, it's a good idea to consult an expert in chimney repair. They can investigate your chimney and help resolve any problematic issues. Companies like Chimney Repair from Top Hat Chimney Sweeps and Repair may be able to help meet your needs in this area.