Old Houses And Chimney Issues

Old houses present unique challenges for chimneys

Old houses present unique challenges for chimneys

Buying an old home (built in the 1950s or older) is appealing for many homeowners shopping around. Old homes have a lot of charm and are built with characteristics newer, more modular homes simply are not. A lot of people are drawn to older homes because of the look and feel homes built sixty years ago have. However, purchasing a home that wasn’t built with modern concepts is not without its challenges. Many older houses have chimney issues among other damages that should be considered upon inspection.

What Are The Dangers Of Old Chimneys?

Older chimneys account for many chimney fires. In fact, in 2010, chimneys, flues and other confined fires accounted for 87 percent of residential fires in America. Not only do older chimneys cause fires, they can also produce creosote, a residue left behind by wood burning fires, as well as carbon monoxide, which is a dangerous gas left behind from fires not burning hot enough.

Beyond the health hazards of old chimneys, many older chimneys do not burn efficiently, which causes heat to escape from your home. The result is a higher energy bill during cold winter months when you expect and need your home to be heated thoroughly.


The most common chimney issue is deterioration. After decades of weather exposure, lack of repairs and wear and tear many chimneys simply don’t hold up. This often results in masonry damage to the bricks and/or mortar of the chimney and can lead to leaks or collapsed chimneys.


As with chimneys of any age, moisture is a major culprit of damage. If not properly capped or sealed, or if not repaired properly, a leaky chimney can allow moisture to enter. This can result in build-up inside the chimney, which can cause your chimney to run inefficiently. In order for a chimney to properly heat the home it needs to burn as hot as possible. When a chimney is full of moisture it doesn’t burn hot enough.

Additional Types Of Chimney Issues
Damaged lining or no lining
Rusted Flue and/or Rusted Damper
Pyrolysis (the process of the wood around a chimney being exposed to heat, making it combustible)

If you are considering purchasing an older home, the best thing to do is have a thorough inspection done on the home. If you want a second opinion, hire a professional chimney repair and sweeping company in addition to your home inspector to thoroughly look around and inside your chimney. Pozzi Chimney Sweep in Hinckley, Illinois offers premium chimney cleaning, sweeping and inspection services you can trust. A professional chimney expert will come to your home (or the home you are considering purchasing) and inspect the chimney from top to bottom.

Once your chimney is inspected, repairs should be done as soon as possible. As with all large appliances, the key to maintaining any chimney is to inspect it regularly and make appropriate repairs in a timely manner. Owning a home, especially an old home built with character and charm, is truly rewarding. Enjoy your home and your wood burning fireplace or stove by maintaining it and repairing damages before they get out of hand.

By | Tagged with: Tags: | Leave a Comment