5 Signs Your Chimney May Need Repair
Tips & Tricks

5 Signs Your Chimney May Need Repair

It’s easy to disregard your chimney, especially when the temperature rises and you halt using your fireplace. However, when chilly weather kicks in, some things may trump your chimney projects, and you might not have enough time to think about it. Chimneys appear strong and durable, but they have their weaknesses. While sometimes it can be difficult to notice problems with your chimney, spotting an issue and getting it fixed early can save you a lot of time and money. Here are five clear signs that your chimney needs repair.

1.    Cracked or damaged chimney crown

A chimney crown shields the bricks from damage and water penetration, but as the first blockade against moisture and weathering, it also gets the biggest beating. When the chimney crown is damaged or cracked, water may leak into the chimney, causing excessive issues. Besides water issues, a cracked crown leaves your exposed masonry weak and may worsen over time. Eventually, you might even notice critters making their way through the exposed areas as they look for shelter in your home or chimney.

2.    Rusting or broken chase top

Most factory-built or pre-fabricated fireplaces usually have a chase cover at the top that shields the duct and prevents birds and other animals from getting into your chimney. If the chase is not correctly installed or is made of corrugated iron instead of stainless steel, water might collect in it and cause it to deteriorate or rust. A rusting or broken chase cover is unsightly and can allow water into your chimney or home, which can lead to serious damage. It’s best to find chimney repair specialists to replace your chimney chase top immediately after you notice it has torn up.

3.    Damaged mortar joints

Damaged mortar joints between masonry and chimney may need a rooftop vantage point to spot, but it’s an issue that should be fixed as soon as possible. Deteriorating mortar joints exposes the bricks to higher amounts of moisture, which can accelerate damage to your chimney. When water enters the small cracks in your masonry, they may turn into bigger cracks, particularly due to expansion and contraction. If the issue is not addressed, the entire chimney could eventually collapse. 

4.    Spalling bricks

Another common sign your chimney may need repair is damaged or lost bricks. Spalling occurs when water gets into the bricks or concrete and forces the masonry surface to crack, flake, or peel off.

It’s fairly easy to notice spalling, as a bit of the masonry falls from the chimney, but you need to find out what is causing the problem to fix it. Scheduling a chimney inspection is essential as it helps determine how water is entering the masonry and how worse the issue is.

5.    Foul or smokey smell

If you throw a few logs into your chimney and notice an unusual smell in your house or smoke filtering in, it likely indicates that your chimney liner is not functioning properly. Chimney liners help draw the fumes from the fireplace up and out of your house. However, if your chimney liner is not working properly, it can produce toxic fumes, which may lead to complicated health issues or even a house fire.

Unfortunately, there are not always obvious signs to show chimney liner damage since you cannot spot it from the outside. Thanks to a camera that records inside your chimney, today you can be able to see even the last detail clearly. It’s recommended to have a professional routinely clean your chimney flue.


Having a fireplace and chimney in your home is an added benefit, especially if you live in chilly areas where you can take advantage of extra heat. The best thing about these units is that they are made to last extremely long and require little maintenance. However, to keep everything running smoothly and avoid damage down the line, it’s essential to have chimney repair work done immediately after you spot any of these issues. 

Photo by Sandra Grünewald on Unsplash

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