Because so much of the chimney is inaccessible or located in difficult to reach areas, many of us do not know what state our fireplace systems are in. However, there are often a number of signs that there may be a problem with your fireplace. By learning how to recognize early signs of damage, you can call a chimney professional before a minor issue turns into a major problem. Below are a few of the most common signs that there may be a problem with your fireplace.
Water in the fireplace
Water in the flue or firebox should never be ignored; while chimneys and fireplaces are built to withstand significant heat, water can quickly wreak havoc and cause damage throughout your fireplace system.
One of the most common causes of chimney leaks is a damaged chimney cap. Chimney caps are designed to cover and protect the top of the flue against animals, debris, and moisture. However, if the chimney cap is damaged in any way water can freely enter the flue and cause damage throughout the chimney system.
A strange smell coming from the fireplace is more than just an inconvenience; it can affect your home’s air quality or create smells that permeate every room of the house. Because there can be many causes of fireplace odor, a professional fireplace inspection may be needed to pinpoint the exact cause; however, there are three of the most common causes of chimney odor.
- Animals: Sudden sharp or rotting odors often indicated that animal has gotten into your chimney. If the smell is accompanied by animal cries, scurrying, or clawing sounds it is important to have the animals professionally removed as soon as possible. Homeowners should never attempt to smoke out animals; the smoke and heat from the fire can cause animals to become disoriented or die before they exit the chimney.
- Creosote: If it has been several years – or longer – since your chimney has been swept, your chimney odor may be caused by creosote. Odors caused by creosote often come and go and may be stronger during warm weather, when the air conditioner is running, or if it is extremely humid.
- Water: Water in the fireplace or flue can cause mold or mildew to grow. If caused by mold growth, this musty, damp smell will continue to worsen and can eventually affect the air quality in your home, especially for those with respiratory issues such as asthma.
The state of your fireplace’s masonry may reveal an underlying issue. Masonry that is cracked, chipped, or crumbling may be deteriorating due to water damage. Likewise, interior or exterior bricks that are excessively stained may be due to a drafting issue.
Knowing how to recognize signs of fireplace problems can help you know when it’s time to call in the chimney professionals for help. If your fireplace is experiencing any signs of damage or deterioration and you live around the Denver area, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney to start your appointment today or call 303-679-1601!