As a homeowner, you know that the mechanisms of your house require regular maintenance and care to run safely and smoothly. This is particularly true of your fireplace and chimney. As part of your home’s structure, a damaged chimney could lead to some serious and costly problems if left neglected. A regular maintenance and inspection schedule is the best way to catch and fix any smaller issues before they become larger ones. We’ve outlined 5 of the most common chimney problems to keep an eye out for and resolve as soon as possible.

Creosote Buildup

If you are burning wood in your fireplace, there is creosote in your chimney—it’s inevitable. As gases from combustion head up your chimney they cool down, stick to the sides of the flue and form highly flammable, tar-like creosote deposits. If the creosote is allowed to build up without regular inspection or cleaning, it could lead to a serious chimney fire.

Scheduling a regular chimney sweep and inspection (at least once annually) is the only way to remove creosote buildup and prevent a chimney fire. Set up an annual sweep with your local Brick + Ember Outfitters today. If you have just moved into a home with a wood-burning fireplace, be sure to have Brick + Ember Outfitters inspect and sweep the chimney before you begin use.


An obstruction, or blockage in your chimney can be caused by any number of factors. Birds’ nests, squirrels’ nests or leaves and debris can enter and block a chimney without a cap. In addition, chimneys that are too short or over-sized cannot ventilate properly. These obstructions cause smoke and toxic gases, such as deadly carbon monoxide (CO), to re-enter the home.

Again, a blocked chimney can be prevented with regular maintenance and inspections by a qualified Brick + Ember Outfitters chimney sweep. Install gas detectors in your home, and if you notice that your chimney is having trouble drafting, contact Brick + Ember Outfitters. You may have an obstruction on your hands.

Masonry Damage

As we discussed in a recent blog post, water can enter the surface of your chimney, freeze and expand and damage the masonry structure. Left unrepaired, a damaged masonry chimney can further deteriorate, leading to serious structural problems for your home.

Water damage to a masonry chimney can be prevented with certain measures: installing a chimney cap and crown and waterproofing the structure. Masonry issues, such as cracks or damaged mortar, can be repaired by Brick + Ember Outfitters professionals to prevent further problems.

Chimney Cap and Chimney Crown Wear

Your chimney cap and crown are the two key mechanisms deflecting water and preventing penetration and damage to your chimney structure. Because of this, any wear or damage to your cap and crown should be dealt with as quickly as possible. A rusted chimney cap and a cracked chimney crown cannot function effectively.

If you notice any cracking, rusting or wear on your chimney cap or crown, contact Brick + Ember Outfitters. We can repair masonry damage and replace worn chimney caps to keep your chimney structure protected.

Flue Damage

The chimney flue undergoes a lot of stress, particularly from high temperatures and creosote deposits. Too much stress can lead to cracking or other damage to the chimney lining. This chimney lining protects your home from serious damage and risk of combustion and should be replaced as soon as possible.

It can be difficult to assess the state of your chimney flue. When performing a sweep, our Brick + Ember Outfitters certified professionals inspect every inch of your flue with a camera. You can watch the live feed alongside the sweeps as they assess any damage there may be. Schedule a sweep and camera inspection with Brick + Ember Outfitters today.

The homeowner’s to-do list can seem intimidating and exhausting at times. However, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true, particularly in terms of chimney care. Let Brick + Ember Outfitters take the bulk of the burden off your hands. Schedule annual maintenance for your chimney with Brick + Ember Outfitters today to prevent any serious and costly damage down the line.