What things fall down the chimney?

Have you ever wondered what things are that fall down the chimney?

Things that go bump in the night – or day for that matter.  This article is all about what things can fall down the chimney, and why.

Now the things that fall down the chimney can vary from the worrying to the horrific, and it helps to know what causes things to fall down the chimney.  So if you have had any problems with things that fall down the chimney, you have come to the right place.

We will start with the Victorian chimneys and the things that go bump in the night!  I joke, but it can be very worrying to people who find lumps of mortar that fall down the chimney, as well as the odd brick.  Victorian chimneys shed like a dog, and this is down to the acidic flue gasses eating away at the cement mortar – they used both to construct their chimneys and line them.  (See our previous article on the subject).  Most usually, this shedding is in the form of a steady rain of grit and sand that is almost unnoticed, but sometimes the liner can blister, and then there is the risk that further corrosion will mean that the blister detaches and can fall down the chimney like a bomb going off in the grate.  Worst of all is when it’s a house brick that has become detached.  If the fire has a register plate, the effect can be quite startling as it can sound like a giant drum being struck.

So if you have had these things fall down the chimney, make sure you get a certified chimney sweep in to check it over and ask his advice.  I personally am not a fan of trying to sweep the old liner off, indeed, sweeping can even make the gradual crumbling worse for a while.  However if the things that fall down the chimney are larger lumps, you might want to have it swept in the hope of dislodging larger loose pieces in a controlled fashion.  If the state of the flue is particularly bad then it may well be that it will need relining.  You can also get the relevant advice from your certified chimney sweep, and we have an article about this (here).

The next common item to toboggan down is tar and soot.  Here, what causes things to fall down the chimney is blatantly obvious, and the cure simple.  Your chimney needs sweeping, so call in that certified chimney sweep and get it swept.  Why do I repeat the advice of getting a CERTIFIED chimney sweep?  He will have been trained and assess to a nationally recognized standard, he will have the kind of knowledge base that enables him to give you the best advice and finally he will issue you with a certificate.  Keep that in a safe place.  If you have had the chimney swept properly, then if a problem with it does cause a disaster, you can demonstrate to the insurance company that you were not negligent, because you were having the chimney swept properly each year as they require.

Twigs.  This is all too often the signs of one of our feathered friends electing to build a nest in your chimney.  This has CONSEQUENCES.  Not all of them being nice.  If they do build a nest, getting it out can mean a lot of hard work by the chimney sweep.  Should the bird itself fall down, the prospect of a soot coated bird flying round the room in a panic is horrendous.  Problems with things falling down the chimney like that can involve redecorating the room if the chimney in question was dirty.  Finally, it’s a sad fact, but birds die in their nests sometimes, and not to put too delicate a point on it, the flies fall down the chimney as they hatch out and can turn your living room into a set from a third rate horror movie.

In all, it’s best to fit a secure chimney guard and keep them out.

So to recap.

  1. Not everything that can fall down the chimney is a disaster, even if it is frightening.
  2. Turn for solace and advice to that fount of all knowledge, your certified chimney sweep.
  3. Do make sure he is certified, and keep the certificate in a safe place.
  4. Bird guards can prevent a lot of problems.  Consider fitting one.
  5. “You know who” will be happy to advise you re bird guards.  Don’t just buy one at random.
  6. If there is a real problem, there is a solution, i.e. relining.  Call the office if you are worried.  It isn’t as expensive as you think.
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