Look after your chimney to stay warm this winter

It’s getting to that time of the year when you are thinking of getting the fire going for a cosy evening indoors. You have checked and cleaned the grate and flue, bought the wood and kindling, and are ready to throw those logs on and get a roaring fire started. But have you inspected your chimney from the outside as well? Before you light that fire there are a couple more things to think about and check so that your fireplace and home are safe throughout the winter.

Forgetting to check your chimney is easily done, they are built to be sturdy and have never been an issue before so why worry about it now? We do take our chimney stacks for granted but they are one of the most exposed parts of our home, bombarded by the elements from all angles all year round. Over time masonry becomes loose and there could come a point when a strong gust of wind could dislodge bricks and send them crashing down either on to your roof, potentially damaging it, or to the ground, which could lead to injuries.

Avoid storing up problems by doing a few quick checks to your chimney to make sure it is in good condition.

Chimney stack

The first thing to do is to look up at your chimney stack.

  • Is it straight or does it look like it is leaning to one side?
  • Are there any obvious missing or chipped bricks, holes, or cracks?
  • Is the pointing work still in good condition or can you see cracks or moisture anywhere?
  • Are the joints in good condition and sealed well?
  • Does the lead flashing around it have a good seal? Make sure it is not warped or cracked as water can get in and make things worse when it freezes and expands.
  • If you have a metal chimney are there any signs of corrosion, such as rusting or changes in colour?
  • Does anything look or feel loose?
  • Is there staining on any part of the chimney?
  • Does it move when it is windy?

Chimney cap

If you have a chimney cap or screen to keep water and animals out, check to make sure that:

  • The cap is not loose or sitting unevenly; if it is it could be allowing water in.
  • Your screen is correctly positioned and securely fitted so that it cannot be moved either by animals looking for shelter or strong winds.


Do a quick visual check of the inside of the house close to where the chimney is – this could be the attic or a bedroom. You’re looking for any stains, leaks, or peeling wallpaper as these could be the result of problems with the flashing around the chimney.

When checking your chimney always do it safely and if in any doubt get a professional in to do it for you. If you notice any of these changes, then chances are that there is internal damage as well so it is worth getting it checked by a professional. Our Roof Rescue team can help you with any checks and repairs to keep your chimney and your home safe and warm. Talk to us about how we can help by giving us a call on 020 3189 1618, we’re happy to help.

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