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As Fall nights become increasingly colder, homeowners can look forward to cozy evenings in front of the fire.

Before the winter begins in earnest, the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends an annual inspection to look for anything that might harm your system. A professional chimney inspection will look for clogs, obstructions, and any accumulation of creosote which can cause chimney fires. Such an inspection greatly reduces your risk of exposure to smoke, gas and house fires.

If you haven’t had your chimney inspected by a professional, there are certain key signs that your chimney needs looking after. If you notice any of these, or simply wish to schedule an inspection, contact ChimneyTEK.

The wooden Bricks in the chimneyGrowth protruding from the chimney

If you see leaves, moss or trees protruding from your flue outdoors, this is a strong indication that the chimney has blockages. This may also indicate cracks and other unfortunate openings in your chimney. Any damage to the structure of your chimney can generate a pathway for smoke, fumes, or fire to gain access to the rest of your home. This is a serious issue that puts your family at risk. Contact a qualified chimney sweep immediately.

Discoloration on the outside of the chimney

Any type of discoloration on the outside of the chimney is a sign that professional attention is needed. The discoloration stain may be black, brown, green, red or white. The problem may be excess creosote, too much moisture in the flue, or an accumulation of mold. If you can see signs of discoloration, do not use the chimney until it’s been looked at by an expert. 

Indications of moisture on the outside

It is absolutely a must to keep moisture away from your chimney in order to preserve the life of the structure. In order to suss out water damage on the outside of the chimney, look for the following: rusty metal pieces, rotted wood, crumbling mortar or brickwork, or any tilting to the structure. Any of these signs warrants a call to a professional.

Damp smell on the interior

Whether outdoors or indoors, any indications of water damage should be taken seriously. If your system smells moldy or damp, have an expert take a look. The chances are water is getting in too easily. The system may need repairs or a replacement part.

Animal noises

Do you hear chirping or scampering sounds coming from inside your chimney? Animals can cause any number of problems with chimneys. They can clog up the system, leave behind harmful feces, and harm the air your family breathes. Animals should be removed at once.

Signs of water on the interior

Any sign of water damage such as rot, rust, mold or stains indicates it is time to call in chimney experts Watch too for pools of water inside your firebox. This is a sure sign that a new cap or chase cover is needed.

All of these different signs are equally serious. Clogs can cause house fires. Moisture can lead to mold growth. Animals can seriously impact interior air quality. And cracking or crumbling can cause flames, carbon monoxide, or other dangerous gases to get into the home.

If you have noticed any of these signs, or if it’s been too long since your last chimney inspection, call us. This Winter, enjoy your fireplace without any unwanted surprises.