Signs that your Chimney needs Maintenance

Chimneys can be difficult to judge and you can’t always see potential problems from just looking. There are some signs that you can look out for that prove your chimney may need some maintenance and attention. Making sure your chimney is safe is up there with ensuring your home is safe from fire hazards so it is very important for any homeowner with a chimney to be aware of the typical tell tale signs that there may be damage to your chimney.

This blog aims to outline the signs that homeowners should look out for with their chimney to avoid potential problems with the chimney and further possible expensive repairs to other parts of the home.

Mortar Joints

This is one of the more serious signs of chimney problems. Damaged mortar joints have the potential to cause your chimney to collapse all together. If your mortar joints are damaged you can speed up the overall damage to the chimney quite significantly because the bricks are exposed to more moisture than usual. This is particularly worrying during the winter because the water can turn small cracks in the masonry to larger cracks due to freezing and thawing.


One way you can tell that your chimney isn’t operating properly is via rust. Rust proves that there is too much moisture in your chimney and is a huge red flag that your chimney needs attention. You may spot rust in the firebox or the dampner may not seal properly and you will find rust there. Ultimately moisture in your chimney that causes rusting is a huge risk. If it cracks your flue tiles then heat could spread into exposed areas and cause a fire. This is the last thing you want in your home.


Bricks can also help you to spot a problem with your chimney. When water seeps into bricks it forces the surface of the brick to flake off and you will see bits of brick in the hearth beneath your chimney. This is called spalling, a process that can be caused by both water and salt. Obviously bricks are the material that keeps your chimney alive as such, so if you allow the spalling to continue you will cause the destruction of your chimney all together.

Flue Tiles

It has already been mentioned that cracked flue tiles can lead to a potential house fire in your home. The flue tiling must be securely intact to safely use a fireplace and a sign that this is not the case is a pile of debris forming in your fireplace. The first course of action with this issue would be to contact a chimney sweep who can inspect the flue with a specialised camera. If the flue is severely damaged you may want to switch to an alternative: stainless steel liners. The stainless steel liners are very reliable and in most cases you will get a lifetime warranty.

Chimney Crown

The first line of defence that your chimney has to the outside elements is the chimney crown. This needs to be in good condition because cracks can allow water to get into the chimney, freeze, thaw, crack and cause a multitude of problems, most mentioned already above. A cracked chimney crown can cause shaling and spalling which lead to more serious problems. The best course of action here is to weather-proof your chimney crown and the chimney itself.


Wallpaper can be the final flag that your chimney isn’t in top tip condition, especially when it comes to moisture problems. If the wallpaper near your chimney started to mould or peel due to damp then it is a sign that there is too much moisture in the chimney.

If you do spot problems with your chimney it is important to get the problems addressed as soon as possible. It is a good idea to inspect your chimney each Spring so that if there are any major problems they can be fixed before the winter returns.

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