clogged chimneys

The Hidden Danger of Clogged Chimneys: What You Need to Know

Clogged chimneys are a common issue, especially with older atmospheric furnaces and boilers that vent flue gases through steel pipes into the chimney. Recently, we’ve noticed an increase in chimney collapses, raising concerns about safety and efficiency.

Why This Matters: As the government pushes for more efficient furnaces and boilers to reduce fossil fuel consumption, new systems now use ignition systems instead of standing pilots. These systems ignite natural gas or propane only when heat is needed, as determined by your thermostat.

Clogged Chimney Chicago
This picture depicts an unclogged chimney. Do you see the clear hole? That’s daylight and I notice no clay tile or chimney liner.

Common Causes of Clogged Chimneys: Clogged chimneys often occur when the internal liners of clay tiles or bricks begin to deteriorate. The debris accumulates at the bottom of the chimney and gradually works its way up, eventually causing a blockage.

Symptoms to Watch For:

  • Carbon Monoxide Detector Alerts: A beeping or alarming detector is a serious sign. Carbon monoxide is deadly—never ignore these warnings.
  • Black Soot: Carbon build-up around the burners or burner surface area of your furnace or boiler indicates a problem.
  • Burner Shutdown: If your furnace or boiler burners shut down after a few minutes, it could be due to a clogged chimney.

Other issues that may mimic these symptoms include clogged furnace filters, cracked heat exchangers or boiler blocks, defective pressure switches, faulty limit switches, and failing flame sensors.

Stay Vigilant: Regularly inspect the exterior of your chimney for signs of wear and tear. Early detection can prevent more severe issues down the line.

Don’t let a clogged chimney compromise your safety. If you notice any of these symptoms or have concerns about your heating system, contact Around the Town Heating and Cooling for a thorough inspection and expert advice. Your safety and comfort are our top priorities.


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