Chimneys do not talk. But if you know what you're looking for, they do give you signs that they need repairs. Making chimney repairs in a timely manner is often a matter of safety. So, if you notice that your chimney is doing any of the following things, make sure you call a repair service sooner rather than later.
Smoke in the Home
Your home should not smell like smoke when you have a fire going. If you smell smoke anywhere outside of the immediate vicinity of your fireplace, that is your chimney sending a call for help. The smoke from a fire can be dangerous as it contains lots of gases like carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can lead to symptoms like confusion, nausea, and even death if inhaled. But more broadly, smoke in the home means your chimney is not doing its job, perhaps because the flue is stuck shut or there's an obstruction partway up. Put the fire out, call a chimney repair contractor, and don't have another fire until they remedy the situation.
Cracks and Missing Bricks
Take a look at the outside of your chimney. What sort of shape are the bricks in? If you notice a few missing bricks, or if some of the bricks are cracked, then you should call a chimney repair service. This is not an emergency, and you can usually keep using the chimney while you're waiting for repairs. But the sooner you have the damaged bricks replaced, the better. Once one brick becomes damaged, the others have to support more weight and are therefore more likely to break, too.
Look at the mortar between the bricks. There might be a couple of places where a bit is missing or where the mortar is cracked; this can be a normal sign of wear and tear. However, if there is a lot of missing mortar or it just seems to be crumbling away, you need to call a chimney repair contractor. They are often able to perform a service called tuckpointing to restore the mortar. They'll leave the bricks in place but chunk the outer mortar out before putting new mortar in its place.
Chimneys serve an essential function. They allow smoke to escape from your home when you have a fire. A damaged chimney can cause big problems if not addressed, so do not ignore these warning signs of chimney issues.
Contact a local company to learn more about chimney repairing services.