A Blocked Chimney is a Dangerous Chimney

by | chimney maintenance

Think of your chimney flue sort of like a drinking straw — its job is to pull what’s inside of it up, and out. And just like a straw, imperfections can quickly stop it from doing that job. Ever struggled with a straw that had a crack in it? A chimney with a damaged flue liner behaves in a similar way — the chimney’s draft can pull and pull, but cracks and gaps fight against the upward draw.

Your chimney should be free of any kind of blockage -- otherwise you'll have big problems to deal with. See to it that you have your chimney inspected and swept as scheduled.

Your chimney should be free of any kind of blockage — otherwise you’ll have big problems to deal with. See to it that you have your chimney inspected and swept as scheduled.

If you’ve ever had a way-too-thick milkshake, you know how your flue responds to a blockage. Once again, try as it might, draft can’t pull the air and gases inside your chimney up, because something’s closing off the passage and hampering upward movement.

Blockages are a serious issue — depending on what it is that’s blocking your flue, you could end up with anything from a smoky living room to a fire hazard or toxic carbon monoxide leaking into your home.

During your annual chimney inspection, Hudson Chimney technicians always check your flue for blockages or potential blockages. But between inspections, if you’re noticing draft issues — from smoke to fireplace stains — give us a call. We can check to see if your flue is blocked, and make the necessary repairs to have your chimney properly venting again.

Some Of The Most Common Chimney Blockages:

Every situation is different, but there are certain types of blockages that we routinely come across at Hudson Chimney:

Nesting Animals Brought Flammable Debris Into Your Flue

Why It Happened: In most cases, animals move into your chimney a) because it’s an attractive place to nest and b) because nothing was stopping them from doing so. If your chimney isn’t closed off to birds and other visitors, they take that as a vacancy sign, and move right in. Their nests and other debris can quickly block your flue and affect your draft, and since nesting materials are generally flammable, they can also create a fire hazard.

What Hudson Chimney Can Do: install a quality chimney cap. Chimney caps help keep moisture out of your chimney, but they also lock animals, and their nests, out. If you want or need something special, we also install custom chimney caps!

Creosote Buildup Is Closing Off Your Flue

Why It Happened: Creosote buildup is a natural part of using a wood-burning heating appliance. Heated air, gases and particles produced through the combustion of wood rise up in the flue, then condense into a liquid as they reach the cooler flue walls. That condensation layers over time and with use, and you have creosote buildup. The longer you go without a professional chimney sweeping, the more creosote buildup you have — and it can get considerable enough to block your flue and affect your draft.

What Hudson Chimney Can Do: properly sweep your chimney, and help you develop a regular chimney sweeping schedule that keeps your flue clear and venting the way it should.

Damaged Flue Liner Pieces Have Fallen Into Your Flue

Why It Happened: Many older chimneys have flue liners made out of terra cotta clay tiles. Although those tiles can be pretty durable, it’s not uncommon for cracks to develop. If those cracks widen enough for pieces of tile to break off, they can fall into the flue and create a blockage. Cracked flue liner tiles are among the things Hudson Chimney technicians look for during a chimney inspection — and that’s an important part of what we do, because a damaged flue liner affects not only your draft, but your chimney’s ability to protect nearby combustible building materials from high heat.

What Hudson Chimney Can Do: assess the damage in your chimney liner, remove the blockage and bring your liner back to proper working order. That can include repairing your existing liner using HeatShield products or installing a new flue liner, depending on the state of your liner and your chimney.

Whether you’re having trouble with your chimney or just want to stay on top of regular maintenance to keep trouble away, Hudson Chimney is here to help. If you have any questions, or would like to make an appointment with our CSIA-certified technicians, give us a call!