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articles / chimney repair and maintenance


Let’s have a look at your chimney. Usually homeowners don’t think too much about their chimney, unless something goes wrong and usually that’s an emergency! As far as chimneys go, it cannot be stressed enough that a yearly inspection is worth it in terms of avoiding those emergency situations.

Interior Collapse
A yearly inspection would have revealed this problem long ago- extreme danger of carbon monoxide poisoning from furnace backup. So, here are a few common problems:

1) Above the roof, the chimney shows signs of missing mortar.

2) Chimney may exude a brownish liquid. Possibly creosote from burning wet or “seasoned” wood. May also be soot from fuel oil mixed water.

3) Chimney may leak.

4) Cracks, broken or spalled bricks may appear.

In general, the solution to any of the above problems may be very simple or elaborate, depending on any number of factors. Your mason can tell you the various options.

As revealed in the photo above, dangerous situations can develop, whether due to shoddy construction or normal wear and tear. Many homeowners will try and retrofit an appliance into their chimney which was not built with the new use in mind, i.e., changing your furnace from gas to fuel oil or vice versa. ( the different fuels require different liner materials.)

Others will try to add an appliance into a single-flue chimney, many mixing fuel exhausts into the same flue, such as adding a woodstove outlet into the furnace flue. (A double no-no.) Your masonry contractor can advise you as to local codes and specific solutions for your needs.


(We will be adding to this database of articles, so check back for more informative details regarding your next brick, step, or stone project.)