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Common Chimney Problems

Some typical chimney problems

The following are some of the most frequently encountered problems which are the result of inefficient or deteriorating chimneys. Read about some likely causes for these problems.

The fire creates excessive soot

This usually means a lazy and inefficient flue although some bituminous coals are particularly prone to this. Such a 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. 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.

Mortar falls into the fireplace

Bits of brick or mortar falling down the flue indicate a serious deterioration in the chimney structure. Such deterioration normally occurs from the inside of the flue but if there is any indication of weakness on the outside of the chimney then attention is obviously necessary.

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 uninsulated flue, their rise can be decelerated to the point when the appliance just will not draw. An insulated 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.

Fire Risk?

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. The most serious aspect of flue deterioration and corrosion is the fact that the problems are completely hidden from view. This means that you might not be aware of the seriousness of the chimney problem until it's too late.

Cashel Chimney repairs is here to help you avoid such hazards as:

  • Blockages
  • Smoke leaks
  • Insufficient draw
  • Falling debris
  • Down draft
  • Tarring of the flue
  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Incorrect flue dimensions
  • Chimney fires:

Our teams of Expert Qualified Chimney Engineers perform quick, effective diagnosis of problems so your chimney issues are resolved and you are protected from any potential dangers.
Don't leave it to chance, call Cashel Chimney Repair experts today.


"Our Chimney flue was badly cracked and Cashel Chimneys Relined the chimney with no disruption to our house."

Mary Doolan