5 Signs Your Chimney Is Failing - How To Spot & Repair Them
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Signs Your Chimney Is Failing

damaged chimney, Mt. Horeb, WI

When you look at your chimney, it might not be obvious that it isn’t safe to  use. There are however visible signs that will hint to you that maintenance needs to commence. Considering your chimney is one of the most vulnerable parts of your roof – since it’s different in design from the rest of the structure – it’s important to stay aware of its overall maintenance. Here are some signs to look out for when doing an inspection.

 1. Leaks

Leaks are the biggest culprit when it comes to the first signs of a failing chimney. If you hear or see drops coming from your chimney – and after investigating other areas in your house it could possibly come from – it’s time for some repair. To the untrained eye, it can be difficult to find the source of the leak since water can easily move across surfaces. However, one common cause for chimney leaking is a damaged or cracked chimney crown or chase cover. Your chimney crown is the concrete slab on top that protects the chimney from the weather. Over time, the concrete can wither and crack due to moisture and temperature changes. But there can be a whole slew of reasons for a common leak, so it’s best to call a professional to come and assess the situation.


There is a myriad of blockages that can cause your chimney to malfunction. Blockages run the gamut from bird’s nests, tree foliage, trash, and other debris. Soot and crumbling bricks are also common blockages and can potentially be very hazardous. If your chimney’s flue isn’t clean, your home is at risk every time you kindle the fireplace. You can check to see if your chimney is blocked by opening the chimney’s maintenance door (usually outside of the house) and using a mirror and flashlight to see up the chimney. Place the mirror directly under and shine the flashlight on the mirror, adjust the angle as needed to see up. However, calling a professional is absolutely a safer bet.

 3.Spalling and Missing Bricks

Spalling occurs when water enters brick, natural stone, or concrete, and forces the surface of the masonry to pop out, peel off, or flake off. Usually, their exposure to the natural elements is the culprit for spalling. Nearby falling branches, high winds, hail, fluctuating precipitation and temperatures will also cause damages or missing bricks. It’s important to regularly check and maintain the brickwork of your chimney. A professional inspection once a year is highly recommended.

4. Mortar Issues

Moisture is really the biggest enemy of our chimneys. Whether made out of stone or brick, mortar keeps it all together and moisture out. Fortunately, brick chimneys can be repaired with tuckpointing – a technique where the old mortar is removed and replaced with a mortar that reestablishes its structural integrity. Mortar can also be applied to the surface of the bricks to restore their protective functionality.

5. Rusty Components

Rust problems usually happen from none other than moisture, again. Noticing rust is one clue that maintenance is in order. The chimney damper, smoke shelf, and flashing are often metal and therefore susceptible to rusting. If the damper isn’t closing properly or it becomes difficult to operate, these are red flags and you should seek out a maintenance company immediately.

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Everyone loves a healthy and functional chimney during the colder months. It’s important to stay vigilant and on top of maintenance at least once a year so you can enjoy the benefits of a warm home every year.

Call a professional chimney sweep to do your thorough inspection and chimney repair.

It is best to schedule your maintenance in the spring so there is ample time for repairs before the winter season.

Call Chimney Specialists Inc at (608) 939-4887 or inquire online here.

Visit Our Showroom at 869 Main Street, Highland, WI 53543

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