Your chimney is constructed of various parts, each responsible for handling a specific task. If a particular part is in need of repair you will need to get it fixed immediately. There is no good reason to risk running into serious problems such as a fire or exposure to harmful gasses.
One of the main parts you will need to keep in working condition is the chimney's flue. It is responsible for allowing gasses, smoke, and heat to escape the chimney and out into the environment. It is common for flues to become blocked over time. When this happens smoke will start backing up into your living room. In addition to the smoke, there will also be hazardous gasses you definitely do not want your family to breathe in.
One of the most harmful gasses is carbon monoxide. If the flue is seriously blocked and you keep using the fireplace, CO levels can rise dramatically and be lethal. Humans are prone to suffering headaches, nausea, dizziness, and other symptoms when lower levels of carbon monoxide are present.
The flue can become blocked for various reasons. In most cases it is mainly because soot or debris has accumulated. Sometimes birds will infiltrate and build a nest which will block the flue. No matter what the cause, it is important to get the problem fixed immediately for the health of you and your family.
If you have a masonry chimney there is the risk the mortar will eventually break down allowing cracks to develop. If that happens, you will have problems with dampness in the interior of your home. If the problem is left alone the moisture will only spread and lead to more expensive repairs.
If the masonry of your chimney starts deteriorating you may notice pieces of debris falling. It could be sand, tar, brick, or mortar. If you notice anything falling, call a professional to come check out the problem.
Many homeowners realise the benefits of installing a chimney cap. It helps keep fires from starting on the roof or lawn. It also helps keep birds and other pests from entering the chimney. It is best for you to ensure a new chimney cap is installed and sized correctly so it does its job correctly.
As you can see, there are various parts of your chimney you will need to keep a check on. If any of these parts need repair, then have it done as soon as possible. There are many different problems that can occur if you procrastinate with repairs.