Common Chimney Problems

Since we opened our doors in 1996, the team at Advance Chimney Sweeps has encountered many common chimney issues in the Greater Pittsburgh area including Cranberry, Wexford, Beaver Falls, Uniontown, Belle Vernon, Waynesburg, Greensburg, Washington, Monroeville, Bethel Park, Glenshaw, and Morgantown, Fairmont and Clarksburg, WV region along with surrounding commmunities.

Here’s a list of some of the problems our CSIA-certified technicians can help with.

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Brick Or Mortar Deterioration

Masonry materials are porous. This makes them particularly susceptible to the freeze-and-thaw cycle. This is one of the more common chimney repairs we perform for our customers. It can include everything from simple tasks such as tuckpointing or repointing to complete chimney rebuilds.

If moisture gets inside your chimney, it can lead to spalling brick. This means that your chimney is literally falling apart unfortunately. Once this process starts, it can quickly lead to other problems. If left unresolved, the chimney structure itself may become comprimised and even collapse! OUCH. But with our team's assistance, we'll make certain that this doesn't happen to your home.

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We Fix Leaky Chimneys

Common chimney issues frequently involve water problems. A leaky chimney can result from many different causes, including damaged flashing or a need for water resistant sealant. Leaks may also arise from a chimney crown that is cracked or a chimney cap that’s missing. Regardless of the reason, we can help mitigate the problem for you.

Some leaky chimney symptoms may not even show direct evidence of a problem. Others may be painfully obvious, such as damage to parts of your home’s interior, staining on your masonry, leaks in the attic or ceilings or chipped brick or tiles at the bottom of your fireplace.

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Fixing a Rusty Chimney

Rust usually starts with the chimney cap or chase cover with streaks of orange or reddish-brown stains dripping down the crown and exterior brick or stone masonry. There are many metal components to your chimney, which may include your liner, your flashing, your top damper, your chimney cap, and (if you have one) your chimney chase cover. Chimney chase covers are notorious for puddling water on their semi-flat surface that will rust through the metal and open the chimney up to a constant source of moisture when it rains or snows. As water degrades these materials, it can lead to rust showing up in various places in your chimney system and causes leaks.

To preserve your masonry or manufactured chimney and fireplace, contact our certified chimney technicians at the first sign of rust.

Smelly Chimneys - Yuk!

There can be many reasons for a chimney that has an unpleasant odor. If animals have made a nest in the recesses of your flue, this points to a missing or defective chimney cap. On the other hand, creosote is a sticky, tar-like substance. When it mixes with water and soot, it can lead to a smelly chimney especially after the burn season when the heat and humidity of summer comes in. Each of these can be fixed with ease and can typically will eliminate these smells.

In some cases, it may be that you have a leak that has allowed mold and/or mildew to grow within your flue. This may be from damaged flashing, cracked brick, or a defect at the top of your chimney.

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Smoky Chimney Problems

If your chimney has structural defects or problems, it can create issues with your airflow. This is called the "drafting" of the chimney. If the fireplace is not pulling smoke up the chimney the air is not balanced correctly. Your flue helps to transport smoke and toxic gasses out of your fireplace and to the outside environment. The smoke chamber may be uneven, the flue may not be big enough or your damper may be blocking the flow if it is defective.

If there is a physical problem, the system cannot work as intended. Common chimney issues often are a simple result of some kind of blockage. Animals, leaves, or other debris can create obstructions in your flue. This, in turn, can lead to other major problems such as smoke backing up into your home. Cleaning out these obstructions while also correcting their cause is a task our team will gladly perform for you during a chimney sweep.


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White Staining On Your Chimney

Finally, the last of our common chimney problems is a process known as effervescence. This is where water evaporates and leaves behind a mineral residue. This can point to issues elsewhere in your chimney. The water has been pushed through the brick (not a good sign) to the outside where the deposits end up. If the brick is this porous, and if there is water in your chimney that means trouble of course.

If you see this on your chimney, the chimney should be looked at by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep technician.

Since the white stain will continue to reappear after the sun dries the wet masonry, the best thing to do is call our chimney experts.

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Animal Problems

Animals can create problems within a fireplace. We’ve already mentioned creating obstructions as well as odors. But they can also indirectly contribute to a fire, especially if their nests were to catch fire whether due to excessive creosote buildup or the flammability of these materials.

We Fix Common Chimney Problems in the Pittsburgh, PA area South to WV

By providing solutions that are quick, effective, and meant to last, we’ve built a reputation as our region’s preferred, family-owned chimney company. We can help with these common chimney issues and more for you. Give our team a call at (800) 822-2131 to get started.