3 Signs Your Home's Old Chimney Needs Repairs

If your home has an old chimney, you may start to wonder if it has any issues that need professional attention. If so, look for one or more of the following three signs that your chimney may be in need of repairs.

Smell Excessive Smoke Inside Your House

Normally, you smell a little bit of smoke from your fireplace while you are using it since the chimney's job is to pull out most of it. However, you detect an excessive amount of smoke inside your house, this could indicate a problem with your chimney's flue. 

If the flue is jammed or deteriorated, it may not be able to pull smoke from the fireplace. You can perform a simple check of the flue by moving the lever back and forth. If you meet some resistance or see debris fall into the fireplace, it may need repairs. 

Scrape Black Tar From The Inside Of Your Chimney

Another sign that your chimney may not be working properly is a thick buildup of black tar from inside the walls. This substance is called creosote and is a residue left behind while burning wood. 

While you may normally have a small amount of this tar inside your chimney, you should not have a thick layer encrusted on it. If the chimney's ventilation is blocked, the smoke may be lingering on the stones, causing the creosote to build up.

To check for creosote, use a flathead screwdriver to scrape the inside of your chimney. If you find a lot of tar, your chimney may not be ventilating the smoke as well as it should.

Find Pieces Of Brick Or Mortar In Your Fireplace

A sign your chimney's bricks have started deteriorating is the presence of brick pieces or mortar in your fireplace. You can check for this the next time you clean out the old ashes and wood.

Once you have swept out the fireplace, take a screwdriver or small hand rake and sift through the debris. If you find large pieces of brick or mortar or a large amount of smaller pieces, the chimney is most likely breaking apart. In this case, do not use your fireplace until you have it looked at by a professional.

If you find any of the signs above, your chimney could be unsafe to use until it is fixed. You may want to contact a chimney repair service such as Clean Sweep to inspect your chimney before trying to use it again.