For most people a chimney is almost invisible. When was the last time you looked at it? Well If you’re here then probably recently, but usually the only time you look at it is approximately every ten or fifteen years (when your roof needs to be redone) or when you are buying a new house and have an inspection. If your really good and have your chimney swept every year, then the chimney sweep will look at it.
Sadly what you see from the ground is usually not as bad as when you look a bit closer.
If you would like to see a video on a chimney that was recently done here it is.
Looking from the bottom this is usually the state when someone notices that something is wrong.
You can notice the mortar missing between the bricks. The look like dark lines. Sometimes you will see bits of cement on the ground after a strong wind or rain.
I had a client tell me on one occasion that they only noticed that the chimney needed some work only after a bird that had landed on the chimney knocked a brick off.
Other signs can be:
efflorescence ( white staining)
Water damage in your house
A lean in your chimney
Your cap falls off or loos part of your chimney fall off
green things growing out of it
To be safe a chimney should be regularly inspected and maintained which hopefully is every other year or sooner.
Chimneys take weather from all sides and get slammed buy wind rain and snow. Its amazing how many forced are acting on it. A small bit of maintenance can make your chimney last a long time. These can be things like making sure flashing is sealed properly, that the chimney cap is not cracked, and any damage is repaired. Like your car, a bit of preventative maintenance can help keep you safe and save you money in the long run.