This article was written for BBB of Northeast California by Kirk M. West at ChimChimney, BBB Accredited BusinessIn this weeks post we are going to look at the 5 most common issues involving your chimney starting at the top of the chimney and working our way down. Your chimney and hearth add warmth and character to your home. However, before we gather around the fireplace it is important to consider regular chimney maintenance. There are many issues which commonly need to be addressed. Here are the top 5 common chimney issues that we see here in the Greater Sacramento area. Starting from the top...Missiing Chimney Cap/Arrestor At the top of your chimney are the chimney cap and spark arrestor. Not only are these required for California's Residential Codes but they play important roles. First they prevent hot sparks from floating into the air and landing on otherwise dangerous places that could easily "spark" a fire on your home, your neighbors, etc. Second, having the cap present will prevent water from entering the chimney system. When water enters the chimney it will wreak havoc on the entire chimney causing water damage, deterioration of various parts of your chimney.Chimney BlockageChimney blockage is also a common problem when chimneys have either not been used in awhile or if there is deterioration of the brick, masonry etc. Depending on the weather patterns or even new local laws, you may not use your chimney as often as in the past. That creates an environment where birds may infiltrate the chimney and build nests. Nest can cause all kinds of problems from chimney fires to deterioration of the system itself. Also if your chimney has been exposed to water or other elements the masonry and even the bricks can start to crumble and as they fall into the chimney they easily cause blockages that can ultimately cause chimney fires. Public Safety officials suggest you have your chimneys cleaned/inspected annually. Blockages are easily spotted during a chimney inspection/cleaning by trained technicians. Please call us to schedule your annual service.CreosoteWhen wood is burned, more than just smoke goes up the chimney. Creosote is deposited inside the chimney lining. Creosote is a black or dark brown tar, and soot is a fine carbon powder which colors smoke. The combination of creosote and soot is usually what is referred to as creosote in the chimney. There are several forms of creosote, they are all dangerous because they are flammable and can cause chimney fires. Every year, over one hundred thousand house fires are caused because of dirty chimneys which haven’t been properly maintained. Creosote can also prevent proper venting of the chimney system, causing dangerous fumes to enter the home. An obstructed chimney is one of the reasons carbon monoxide can invade a household. Known as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide in large amounts is deadly; it is odorless, tasteless, and invisible. This is another reason to have us come out and clean your 916cimney. We have the correct tools to remove all 3 types of the creosote that uild up in chimneys in our area. Damage to /Cracks in the FlueWhen the top flue is cracked and not connected to the chimney system. A new flue tile should immediately be set to the existing flue liner for safe use and to ensure proper drafting for the chimney system. improper drafting can cause problems to the chimney itself as well as to the air quality of your home.Issues to the BrickworkChimney masonry can usually last about a century depending on if the mortar is in good condition and the environmental conditions it is exposed to. When mortar deteriorates, the masonry and entire chimney system is exposed to moisture which leads to brickwork problems. The best way to keep brickwork in good shape is to keep moisture out, which means that sometimes mortar has to be replaced. Our Team is equipped to handle brickwork problems from simple mortar replacement to entire chimney replacement. Do not hesitate to follow our advice from this post if you feel your chimney system has been compromised or needs immediate attention. A thorough inspection by one of our Technicians will answer any questions you may have.