How to Spot Common Chimney Problems – Our Guide

How to Spot Common Chimney Problems - Our Guide

Chimney problems are serious issues. You must resolve them quickly, or they can lead to hazardous situations. Since chimneys exhaust the smoke from the fireplace, having a faulty chimney is essentially a fire hazard. As such, you want to understand how to spot these issues immediately.

In certain conditions, some problems are only detectable with a professional around. You may not be knowledgeable about chimney systems, so it can be easy to miss the signs that yours needs repairing. Even so, there are some signs you can observe to help you determine whether you need to contact the pros right away.

Here are some ways you can spot common problems with your chimney:

1. Check if the damper is difficult to use

If your chimney’s damper becomes tricky to use or if sealing it is starting to get challenging, it’s likely due to rust build-up. Because moisture can accumulate in the chimney, the damper may start to rust. Normally, you would check for rust to see if a piece of metal is rusting. With dampers, the indication may come earlier than the actual visual cues.

Too much rust can cause the flue lining to crack and break. If it does, a fire can break out, which is why it’s important to replace the damper early on. Additionally, identifying cracks in the flue lining requires a more in-depth inspection of the chimney using a special camera.

2. Check for white stains

If there’s too much moisture in the masonry, your chimney will get covered in white stains, which is known as efflorescence. While these stains are fairly easy to clean, addressing the problem will require more than that. As such, you will need to get the moisture in the masonry controlled, or the stains can cause the chimney to deteriorate. When that happens, the chimney can start becoming ineffective, potentially leading to hazardous situations.

3. Check for tiny pieces of the chimney in the fireplace

When the chimney’s flue lining gets damaged, the cracks will worsen over time, causing tiny pieces of the chimney to fall off. Also known as shaling, these tiny pieces will eventually accumulate in the fireplace, making it dangerous to use.

As mentioned before, a proper inspection will be needed to determine if the flue lining is damaged. For that reason, you want to have the pros check your chimney regularly. However, if you start to see cracks and crumbling in the fireplace, it’s important to call your local chimney repair company to prevent serious damage.

4. Check if the chimney crown is cracked

When you start seeing water or ice seeping through the chimney, it could mean that the chimney crown is cracked. This mechanism protects the chimney and prevents rain or snow from entering. If the crown’s crack worsens, more water can get through the chimney, moisture can accumulate, and as a result, shaling can escalate. When you spot cracks on the chimney crown, you want to get them weatherproofed immediately.


Chimney problems, while they are common, can be difficult to detect. Even with the indications, special tools and equipment may be required to assess the issue properly. That means calling the chimney repair professionals is critical to ensure that your chimney is in top condition.

At Red Robin Masonry, we provide excellent masonry services in Toronto. If you need waterproofing and chimney repair for your home get in touch with us!

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