The function of a chimney is to draw smoke and gases away from the burning fire and out of your home. This is not merely a matter convenience, though. The smoke from a fire can contain dangerous gases, among them carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can cause illness, or even death, in large amounts.
The other function of your chimney flue is to keep excessive heat from building in your home. Cracks in a chimney can leak heat into the surrounding walls, and lead to structural damage or even house fires.
For these reasons, it is important that chimney flue problems are detected and repaired early.
One of the most common issues in chimney flue maintenance is the buildup of creosote. Creosote is an oil that is emitted when woods and other solids are burned, which can solidify and build up on the inside of your chimney. If left untreated, creosote buildup can ignite and cause dangerous chimney fires.
Another common chimney repair problem is blockage of the chimney flue. Debris can fall into the chimney from above, or animals may build nests there. Blockage of the chimney flue can cause dangerous gases to fill the house.
A third major area of chimney repair is cracks or holes in the chimney flue or chimney itself. Again, these can cause leaking of gases or heat into the home or walls, leading to the danger of smoke inhalation or house fire.
For any of these problems, you should consult a licensed chimney repair expert, as it is required by law in most states that they be handled by professional contractors.