10 Signs Of A Blocked Chimney

Winter is in full swing and one thing that’s going to get a lot of use in these couple of months, besides your coat and jacket, is a chimney. Well, that is, if the chimney isn’t blocked. So, here are some key signs to look out for so you can schedule chimney cleaning by chimney contractors.

There’s Smoke In Your Room

First and foremost, and this is a very alarming sign of a blocked chimney, you need to look out for smoke build-up in the room. Usually, the flue of the chimney is what ejects the smoke out of the fireplace and into the open, away from the room, but if the flue is somehow obstructed, then it can be really hard for the smoke to come out.

This can cause the smoke to build up in the room. You will see that the room will start to get foggy and smoky and it will be hard to breathe in it. This is seriously a hazard and you need to check the chimney as soon as possible to double-check for any blockages or obstruction.

There Are Animal Nests

The chimney is the perfect place of refuge for small birds and animals and if you only light your chimney up during the winters, then the flue can become a comfortable place for birds to build their nests. So, if you’re worried about your chimney being blocked, then you probably want to take a peek inside the flue.

If there are bird nests and droppings present inside, then it’s highly likely that the chimney is the place of residence for the birds. This can be a huge obstruction for the chimney and you need to evacuate the flue as soon as possible, otherwise, you will be in for more trouble.

Something Is Falling Inside

If you feel like your chimney is behaving somewhat weirdly, then you might want to inspect it first. If you see a lot of things falling in the base of the fireplace, like twigs, branches, small rocks, etc., then there’s probably an obstruction or blockage in the flue of the chimney.

Even if you don’t see anything falling, and there are sounds of things clanking against the walls of the chimney, then you better believe that there is something up there and you need to inspect it and get it out of the way to make the chimney work properly again.

Fire Is Hard To Build

If there is soot present on the walls of the chimney, then fires might be hard to build. If you know anything about science and fires, then you would know that fire is accelerated by oxygen, so there needs to be proper ventilation in the chimney to allow the fire to blaze up.

Soot can dampen the fire and it can be really hard for the fire to burn to its full capacity. Also, if there are obstructions present in the thin flue of the chimney then there won’t be sufficient oxygen to set the wood on fire and you’ll only be wasting matchsticks and your time, trying to keep yourself warm.

On the other hand, gas fireplaces will still fire up, but due to the blockages, smoke won’t escape from the chimney and fill up in the room. Moreover, excessive soot can lead to a fire. So, you must hire chimney sweep services Upper Marlboro to clean your chimney twice a year to prevent any accident.

Residue On The Chimney

If you feel that your chimney walls are getting too slimy, grimy, and slippery, then there are probably deposits of creosote on them. Creosote is the substance that’s left over after the wood has completely been burnt and it’s dark and very slimy. Not to mention, it’s also a fire hazard and it’s one of the main reasons why a chimney gets blocked in the first place.

So, when you’re inspecting the chimney for any signs of blockage, make sure that you’re inspecting the walls too because there might be creosote buildup, especially if you are not a fan of regularly cleaning your chimney.

No Chimney Cap

When do blockages happen? Well, they’re the most common when there’s no chimney cap on the top of the flue. This is quite frustrating, to say the least. Chimney caps are necessary for keeping animals and birds out of the chimney and it also prevents water from leaking into the chimney. This cap can sometimes break, especially if the weather is too bad, or it can be stolen since it’s made of metal.

So, if you see that your chimney is not working properly and there are signs of obvious obstructions, then you probably need to take a look outside at the chimney cap and see if it’s even there or not.

An Unpleasant Smoky Smell

This might be confusing, because wood does burn with a smoky smell whenever a fireplace is blazing, but this is not the smell that’s concerning. If you light up your fireplace and there’s already a bad, chokingly irritating smell coming from the chimney then it’s probably blocked and the main culprit in question is creosote or soot.

These things burn with a very bad smell, to the point where the smell can turn smoky in a matter of seconds and it’s highly unpleasant.

Noise Coming From The Chimney

If there is soot buildup in the chimney, then you might need to keep your ears peeled for any weird noises. When there’s a fire being lit up in the presence of soot, there can be production of noises that are similar to small pops here and there.

If you hear these sounds, then you better believe that your chimney is blocked and that the obstruction in question is soot. This is not only an unpleasant thing to hear, but soot can actually catch fire quickly and it can turn into an ugly situation pretty fast, so you need to be extra careful when mindlessly lighting the fireplace up.

Soot Build-Up

Soot is a grayish, white, and sometimes black deposit present on the walls of the chimney. This can also lead to blockages in the flue and it can also turn into a fire hazard pretty quickly. This is why it is so important to have the chimney cleaned from time to time, even if you’re not using it regularly.

A clean chimney will not have obstructions and it will also be clear of soot, so you can rest assured and light up the fireplace without any fear of fire or any unwanted problem because it’s going to operate flawlessly.

Water Leakage

If you see water in a fireplace then it can only mean one thing and that is the fact that your chimney is blocked. It is really easy to identify a water leak in the chimney. It can be detected by the dripping sounds in the fireplace, there might be cracks near the top part of the chimney, where the roof meets the flue that might be the passage for the incoming water. It might also be because of the damaged flashing. The bottom line is that you need to fix it quickly.


A blocked chimney is not efficient and it can also be a huge hazard if you’re not too careful. With these signs, you can know if your chimney is blocked and have it cleaned by hiring chimney cleaning services Bowie.