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4 Reasons You Should Call a Professional Chimney Sweep

Ambitious homeowners can perform certain chimney maintenance tasks to keep their chimneys safe and running at their best. In some cases, however, only a trained, certified chimney sweep can diagnose problems and initiate the proper repairs to restore the chimney to health. Here are four reasons to call a professional chimney sweep.

Chimney Leak Damage McMinnville, TNThe chimney is leaking

A chimney leak may not look like much at first, but in a fairly short time it could become a serious problem. Water and bricks don’t mix, so if you notice any of the common signs of a leaky chimney, you need to have an experienced chimney sweep evaluate the situation.

Signs of a chimney leak include:

White staining (efflorescence) on the exterior bricks of the chimney

  • Water and moisture inside the firebox
  • Strong, unpleasant odors coming from the firebox
  • Discolored or damp sections of the ceiling or walls near the fireplace

Smoke is entering the house

If smoke from your fireplace isn’t traveling up and out of the chimney, something’s wrong. Possibilities include:

  • The flue/chimney liner is the wrong height or diameter for the fireplace it’s venting
  • The flue is full of air-flow obstructions such as excess creosote or debris that could include bird and small animal nests, dead small animals, leaves, twigs and other items
  • The damper isn’t able to open completely – likely due to rust or damage
  • The house is too air-tight, and not enough air is getting to the firebox to push smoke upward

It’s no fun having smoke back up into your house, but the larger concern is dangerous carbon monoxide that’s present in the smoke. Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, but it is known to be potentially fatal to humans and animals.

Your chimney sweep can perform a thorough inspection to find out why you’re having smoke issues and get to work fixing the problem fast.

There has been a chimney fire

Any time a chimney fire is known or suspected to have happened, a trained chimney sweep needs to be called out. Many chimney fires are relatively small and of short duration, but any fire can cause damage to the chimney liner, the interior masonry of the chimney and adjacent parts of the home.

Chimney fires are more common than most people realize, and most of them are caused by creosote igniting in the flue. It’s important to know the signs of a chimney fire:

  • The sound of distant rumbling, like from a train
  • A weird ticking or tapping noise
  • Excess dense smoke coming from either end of the chimney

If you notice any of these signs, call 911 immediately and put out the fire in the fireplace, if safe to do so. Once everything is taken care of, call a chimney sweep for a complete chimney inspection before using your fireplace again.

Damaged Chimney Masonry, Huntsville, AL

The chimney masonry is damaged

Loose bricks (spalling), crumbling mortar, sections of missing masonry – these are all reasons to bring out a certified chimney sweep to inspect the system.

Bricks and mortar can be damaged by water leaks, house-settling, pounding hail, lightning strikes and other events. If left unaddressed, the condition will worsen to the point that the chimney might collapse.

Visually inspect your chimney’s exterior periodically, and if you see signs of damage or deterioration, call a chimney sweep.




A-1 Chimney Specialist of Winchester, TN, is ready to help with all your chimney needs from certified chimney sweep services to expert chimney inspection and repair. Call us today at (931) 967-3595. Huntsville residents, call our Alabama office at (256) 285-4895.