Common Safety Issues Found in Old Chimneys | Apex Chimneys

June 25, 2019

If you own, or are about to own, an older house, you’ll want to take a good look at the chimney. While newer homes are likely to be built in compliance with modern codes and material requirements, older homes were probably built to older standards and tend to have more safety issues. Then there’s also the fact that even well-built chimneys will deteriorate with time and use. Here are some safety issues to be aware of if you have a house with an old chimney.

First Things First: What is “Old”?

By “old”, we mean houses that are more than 60 years old. Houses that fall in this category almost always have masonry (brick or block) fireplaces and chimneys. Houses built after the 1950s usually have metal hearth systems, and are much more safe.

Chimney Linings in Old Houses

One of the most common—and dangerous—issues we see in older chimneys is lack of a chimney liner. To put it bluntly, a chimney that has not been lined should not be used for any purpose. Unlined or poorly-lined chimneys may leak noxious gases into the home; encourage the formation of tar and creosote; and cause a host of other problems. Therefore, if you have an older house, it is important to schedule a chimney inspection as soon as possible to ensure your chimney liner present and intact.

Block Chimneys in Old Houses

Although chimneys built out of blocks usually get the job done, they are generally less optimal than brick chimneys. Block chimneys that aren’t surrounded by bricks are more subject to cracking, leaning, leaking, and essentially any other chimney problem that can occur. If you have a block chimney built right against the side of the house, chances are high that it is not within code. To avoid litigation (and danger of a house fire!), you can either surround all four sides with brick, or have it replaced entirely.

Shifting Ground and Old Chimneys

We don’t feel it, but the ground is always moving ever so subtly beneath our feet. Fortunately, most houses are a bit elastic, and allow enough give that the push and pull doesn’t affect them much. However, over multiple decades, the shifting will eventually cause small cracks in a chimney’s bricks and mortar. Not only does this lower your house’s curb appeal, it is also somewhat hazardous.

Need a Chimney Inspection in Apex NC? Call Nexus Chimney Services

If you live in an old home in Apex or Raleigh NC, and are unsure if your chimney is safe and usable, call Nexus Chimney Services! We are a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney company providing quality inspections, cleanings, repairs and installations in Apex, Raleigh, and the surrounding areas. Schedule an appointment with us today!