Common chimney problems
Nationwide chimney repair have outlined some common chimney problems that indicate your chimney may be damaged and in need of repair. Use this list of chimney problems to diagnose the likely issue your fire or chimney is having. Alternatively you can contact our office for assistance with your chimney repair – 1890 929 555 or use the contact page to send us a message and our chimney experts will call you back to help.
The fire is not drawing properly
This is usually the result of a cold or an obstructed chimney flue or it can arise from insufficient height relative to the ridge of the roof or an adjacent building. Large unnecessary voids at the base of the chimney may also stop the fire drawing properly. Sometimes double glazing and very efficient draught excluders around doors, etc, may prevent an adequate flow of air for the fire to work correctly.
The fire creates excessive soot in the chimney
This usually means a lazy and inefficient chimney flue although some bituminous coals are particularly prone to this. Such a chimney flue may not be the right diameter for the fire or stove, or may not be satisfactorily insulated so that the fumes do not rise fast enough and therefore create soot deposits in the chimney. Excessive soot and tar can be a considerable fire hazard, particularly if the chimney structure has deteriorated; or where, on 19th century property for example, floor joists have been built into the stack, when the whole house can be at risk.
There are fumes in the rooms
These may not be easily detected on closed appliances although if, with an open fire, the chimney smokes back into the room they are then obvious. Fumes contain carbon monoxide and are dangerous. Where there are leaks in the chimney the fumes can find their way into upstairs rooms and attics. Sometimes a tell-tale smoke stain around the edge of a carpet shows the presence of fumes.
The chimney breast feels hot
This means that the chimney has deteriorated and may be dangerous. A hot wall in the room above may be a similar symptom. If stains also appear on the chimney breast this is a sign that tar or acids have condensed and are eating into the chimney mortar and brickwork.
The fire or stove is using too much fuel
Large uninsulated flues require a lot of heat and fuel to make them draw. In particular high efficiency modern appliances have only a relatively small outlet pipe for the fumes. If these discharge into a much larger un insulated chimney flue, their rise can be decelerated to the point when the appliance just will not draw. An insulated chimney flue of the correct size is required to ensure that an adequate draught is created for them to burn as their designers intended. Otherwise they will use too much fuel and the slow moving fumes will also condense into acids which will attack the internal surface of the chimney.
Tar and soot deposits are a considerable fire risk; combine this with poor chimney structure or floor joists built up into the stack and the whole house is at risk.
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