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Solving The 3 Most Common Chimney Problems

Before the weather gets cold, your chimney may face some common issues that should be resolved promptly. Neglecting these problems can result in a chimney that’s unsafe or inefficient for the next burning season. Chimney Saver Solutions of Richmond, VA, would like to share some tips on solving three of the most common problems that are often noticed before the cold winter season.

smelly chimney odors, Fan District VA1. Offensive odors coming from the fireplace

Most chimney odors that wind up in a home come from one of two things:

  • A chimney leak, which produces a musty smell, particularly when the weather gets warmer
  • Creosote buildup in the flue, which causes a smoky smell

If you’re dealing with a musty smell, the first step is discovering why water is getting into the chimney. The second step is making the necessary repairs to prevent future leaks and eventual widespread damage. If you’re constantly getting a smoky, burnt smell that’s produced by creosote, your chimney should be professionally swept and inspected. Chimney sweeping will remove all forms of creosote, which not only smells bad but is also highly flammable.

2. Damage to the chimney masonry

The bricks and mortar that make up a chimney are strong, but they won’t last forever. After a windy and stormy winter and spring, it’s common for folks to notice issues with their masonry.
Typical early signs of masonry damage include:

  • Loose bricks (also called spalling)
  • Crumbling mortar that holds the bricks together
  • White staining from water seeping into the masonry
  • A chimney that leans to one side

Chimney masonry damage is often caused by hail storms, rain getting into cracks in the masonry, lightning strikes, radical air temperature shifts and other events. Solving masonry problems involves a thorough inspection followed by the correct repairs or rebuilding work.

chimney debris, henrico va3. Flue drafting obstructions

The two types of flue obstructions you should be concerned with are:

  • Excess creosote and soot
  • An accumulation of leaves, twigs, small-animal nests and other debris

Creosote can build up to the point where it narrows the flue and hinders the drafting of smoke. Outside debris can cause a serious blockage. If animals have sought shelter in your chimney and built nests, you need to know about it and have it taken care of.
An obstructed flue may not be a problem in the summer, but come winter, inefficient drafting may cause smoke and deadly gases like carbon monoxide to start backing up into your home. Have the creosote cleaned out by a chimney sweep; have your sweep
remove the debris and then install a full-width chimney cap to keep the problem from recurring.


Chimney inspections in the Richmond VA area

We always recommend that our customers schedule an annual chimney safety inspection to look over the chimney masonry, chimney cap, chimney crown, chimney flashing and other parts of the system. Make sure you schedule your inspection before winter! is a good time for this inspection. If there are repair issues, they can easily be resolved before the fall, which is a very busy season for most chimney companies. Common chimney problems are nothing to get too worried about – as long as you have a trusted chimney services provider who knows how to address all the problems. Chimney Saver Solutions is that provider in the Richmond, VA, area. Get more information or schedule an appointment by calling (804) 440- 5000. You can also reach out through our handy contact form.

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