As a real estate agent, you encounter hundreds of houses every year. While all of them might not have a chimney, many of them probably do. In many Maryland homes, chimneys can help residents to stay warm in the coldest months of the year. The issues can arise when working with a buyer or seller who has an older house.

5 Common Chimney Problems in Older Houses

  1. No Chimney Lining: Chimney linings are now the standard for safe, structurally sound chimneys. However, many older chimneys do not have liners. Without a liner, there is a higher chance of carbon monoxide and dangerous fumes leaking into the home. There is also a higher chance of serious problems with creosote build-up that can lead to fires.
  2. Pyrolysis: Another common chimney problem in older homes is pyrolysis, which is decomposition that occurs over time due to high temperatures. When a fireplace is used for 50 years or more, the wood that lies behind the masonry can dry out and ignite as a result.
  3. Masonry and Mortar Damage: If you have a very old fireplace or home, the good news is that your bricks might be higher quality than bricks manufactured today. However, even high-quality bricks need regular mortar repair. Tuckpointing is a useful procedure that removes and replaces damaged mortar and dramatically extends the lifespan of the chimney. Tuckpointing can make the chimney safer, restore an attractive appearance and strengthen the structure.
  4. Chimney Obstructions: Older chimneys that were not properly maintained are at an elevated risk of chimney obstructions. Plant matter, creosote and animals can all create blockages in the chimney that prevent proper ventilation. A chimney cleaning can remove any obstructions and ensure that the chimney is structurally sound and safe to use.
  5. Damaged Chimney Cap and Crown: Old chimneys typically have cement chimney crowns to block out moisture and rain, but the crown can degrade and crack over time. Modern chimneys have caps instead of crowns, and we often suggest having a cap installed on older chimneys. Caps are typically more efficient at keeping out animals, plant matter and moisture.

Clean Sweep Is Here to Help!

Call Clean Sweep Maryland today at 410-558-1111 for professional chimney sweep, slate roofing and duct cleaning services designed to keep all of your listed properties clean and safe for sellers and buyers. If you have a prospective home buyer or home seller in need of a slate roof inspection or repairs, we are here to help.