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Chimney Flue Obstructions

When Young’s Chimney Service technicians inspect a chimney, one of the things we are trying to ensure is a clean and clear flue. Your flue is working to vent the byproducts of combustion (gases and other materials) from the fire in your appliance to the outside of your home. And it’s important that your flue be able to do that effectively, because the byproducts of combustion can be poisonous, flammable and downright dangerous.

If your flue has obstructions hindering air flow and draft, your chimney system cannot function properly and is most likely a serious fire hazard to your home and family. Imagine sitting in a car with a plugged up exhaust pipe…that certainly doesn’t sound safe, and a plugged up chimney is no different.

Flue Obstructions Come In Various Forms

  • If your chimney doesn’t have a properly-sized and -installed chimney cap, animals might be making their way into your system, bringing along food, moisture, nesting materials and other debris that can clog up your flue.
  • In addition to the obstructions caused by animals, deteriorated and cracking clay flue liner tiles can also block the flue.
  • And then there’s creosote, a highly-flammable deposit that builds up in the flue as you use your fireplace. Creosote forms as the result of condensation, which occurs as hot flue gases flow up and meet with a cooler chimney. If your chimney isn’t regularly swept, creosote can quickly cause an obstruction within the flue. Creosote is also highly flammable, and as it accumulates in your flue, your chance of having a chimney fire increases exponentially.

All of these obstructions make for a serious fire hazard. The dried organic materials that tend to make up animal nests are incredibly flammable and, combined with sparks from the fire and the hot air trapped in your flue, can easily be the cause of a damaging chimney fire.

Your Senses Can Alert You

Signs of a flue obstruction will vary, but your senses will often alert you to a problem.

  • Smells and sounds inside your flue can indicate the presence of animals and debris
  • Smoke can indicate a flue that isn’t venting properly
  • You might even see something blocking the flue

If you think there might be an obstruction in your flue, call Young’s Chimney Service — we can make sure that you’re able to safely enjoy your heating appliances for years to come.


A chimney cap is one of the simplest ways to help protect your chimney from the intrusion of water, animals and unwanted debris. Ask us about this truly affordable chimney service today.

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