Common Chimney Problems

A well-built and well-maintained chimney will hold up and operate safely for many years. Eventually, however, it will begin to fail. If it wasn’t built correctly and not maintained regularly, failures will happen sooner than expected.

Fortunately, chimneys can be repaired and strengthened. National Chimney Service works on chimneys throughout Fairfield County CT and Morris County NJ, and we’ve seen just about every type of damage that can happen to a chimney and its components.

Here are some common chimney problems and how you can address them.

Greenwich, CT Chimney Crown Repair

Brick/Mortar Deterioration

Loose bricks and crumbling mortar point to serious problems down the line. Small (or large) cracks in the masonry can allow water to move in and then freeze and expand, causing further deterioration.

Our crews provide chimney tuckpointing to replace areas of crumbling mortar, expert brick replacement and partial and complete chimney rebuilding.

Keeping your chimney structure sound allows it to function safely and efficiently for many more years.

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Leaky Chimney

Chimney leaks don’t get better on their own. They always get worse. National Chimney Service repairs all types of chimney leaks caused by all types of occurrences. Watch for these leaky chimney signs:

  • White staining on the exterior masonry (water has infiltrated the porous bricks and is leeching salt)
  • Offensive odors coming from the fireplace (see below)
  • Water in the firebox
  • Dampness or discoloration on walls and the ceiling near the fireplace
  • Musty smells in the attic and crawl spaces
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Smelly Chimney

Excess creosote, which builds up when wood is burned, can cause your flue to send off unpleasant odors. A leaky chimney also likely will smell bad because of long-standing moisture.

When we’re called out to inspect smelly chimneys, we first identify what’s causing the odor then determine why it’s happening. In most cases, specific repairs, a thorough chimney sweep and the installation of a protective chimney cap (if you don’t have one) will solve the problem.

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Animals in the Chimney

Squirrels, birds, raccoons and other critters enjoy the shelter of a chimney. Many will use the flue as a birthing ground, building nests that hinder the drafting of smoke. These animals can get into your home through an open damper where they will cause further problems.

If animals are making homes in your chimney, let us come out and remove them. If there are nests and other debris, we’ll clean that out.

If you have no cap, we’ll install a new custom full-width chimney cap to stop the pesky animal problem once and for all.

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Rusty Chimney

Rusting is common with older prefab chimneys with chase tops. The metal top begins to rust, and rain sends the rust spreading down the sides of the structure. That’s the first clue there’s a problem.

Subsequent issues may include water leaks into the flue, mold growth, deterioration of the firebox, rotting of nearby home building materials and more.

In most cases, chimney chase covers should be replaced when they’re rusted and threatening to cause wider damage.

Get Your Chimney into Shape

National Chimney Service crews are trained and equipped to handle any of these problems and any others that might appear within your chimney system. We have been repairing and rebuilding chimneys throughout Morris and Fairfield counties for more than 20 years.

We serve Fairfield CT, Dover NJ, Greenwich CT, Rockaway NJ, and all other local communities. When you have chimney problems, we’re ready to help. Call us in NJ (973) 270-9295 or CT (203) 614-9765 to discuss the chimney problems you’re having; we’d be happy to help!


Use an Experienced, Established Chimney Sweep Company!

Don’t take chances with uninsured, novice, roofers, unregistered business, no workman’s comp.
Our pros have to know what they’re doing when they put their heads up a chimney and to do that, chimney sweeps obtain specialized training and have years of experience in the field.