Exposing Chimney Noises

Halloween isn't too far ahead of us but hearing spooky noises coming from your chimney is not a sound of the season. In fact, the noises coming from your chimney could be an indication there is a bigger problem, possibly a dangerous one. In order to determine what the sounds coming from your chimney are, you need a knowledgeable and experienced chimney sweep service who has investigated chimney noises before. Exposing chimney noises isn't a problem for a qualified chimney sweep service. Need more information? No problem; here, we'll explore the most common sources of chimney noises and which ones might be a cause for concern.

Chimney Noises Caused By Wind

Often, the origin of noises from a chimney is wind. Like the sound from a carnival haunted house, it can create a moaning, bellowing, or whistling noise as it passes through a chimney, particularly if a singular mass obstructs the chimney that magnifies the sound. If the noise irritates you, have your chimney sweep install a chimney cap or modify the one you already have to adjust the airflow.

Chimney Noises Caused By Draft and Backdraft

If you hear an abrupt, resonant rumbling or a whooshing burst of air, the source of the chimney noise could be a draft or a backdraft. It happens when the air is drawn into the chimney and down to the fireplace. Backdrafts can be hazardous as they push smoke and carbon monoxide back into the house.

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Be sure your home is ventilated well, and the chimney is cleaned at least once a year. Use seasoned wood and keep your damper open to help with ventilation. Keeping a carbon monoxide detector fifteen feet from your fireplace is also a good idea.

Chimney Noises Caused By Expanding and Contracting Metal

Some chimneys' have metal components that can make clicking or groaning noises when they expand or contract. It is a typical sound and, in most cases, isn't a cause for concern unless it's excessively loud or constant.

Chimney Noises Caused By Structural Issues

If you hear a nearly imperceptible cracking or gurgling sound, that could mean that your bricks or mortar are crumbling inside your chimney. It's a concern because it means your chimney's structural integrity may be compromised.

Chimney Noises Caused By Chimney Liner Damage

A damaged chimney liner may produce a popping or cracking sound when using your fireplace. Popping and cracking sounds can be signs of danger because a cracked chimney liner could spark a fire in the combustible parts of your house.

If you hear popping and cracking noises from your chimney, your chimney should be inspected right away.

Chimney Sounds Caused By Wildlife

There is a variety of wildlife that can take residence in your attic-


The flapping and squeaking sounds at sunset could be bats. You will need a qualified trapper to remove bats from your chimney.


It's not unusual for birds to build a nest in a chimney. The sounds of chirping or fluttering indicate the presence of birds in your chimney. The birds are not dangerous, but bird nests can create a blockage that can become a fire hazard and fill your home with carbon monoxide.


Skittering or grating noises may mean you have squirrels, rats, or mice in your chimney. These creatures can also construct nests that block the chimney or bring in flammable materials.

If you think wildlife is your chimney, use a certified chimney sweep to remove the blockage.

Chimney Noise Caused Creosote Expansion and Contraction

Creosote, a byproduct of wood combustion, accumulates on the walls of chimneys over time, mainly when wood fires are not hot enough. The creosote deposits can undergo expansion and contraction as the temperature inside the chimney fluctuates—either due to external weather changes or from subsequent fires being lit; it can produce a distinct popping or crackling noise, not entirely unlike the sound of sap-laden wood burning. While the sounds may be dismissed as mere curiosities, they warn of a potentially serious problem. Accumulated creosote is highly combustible and, if left unchecked, can ignite, leading to dangerous chimney fires. Such fires can spread rapidly, endangering a home's entire structure and its inhabitants. Regular chimney cleaning and maintenance are crucial to prevent excessive creosote buildup and the associated risks.

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To Sum Up

Most noises are harmless, but you should understand what the source of the noise is can bring you peace of mind and guarantee the safety of your home. Routine chimney maintenance and inspections thwart any potential issues and ensure a safe and comfortable fireplace experience.

Chimney Sweeps, Inc Knows What Causes Chimney Sounds

If you hear strange noises from your chimney and reside in the greater San Diego area, and want to have your fireplace inspected, call us at 619-593-4020 or fill out our easy contact form. A chimney expert will gladly answer any questions you may have.

Additional Signs of Danger With Your Chimney

Always be alert to-

  • Relentless smoke or a carbon odor without a cause you can account for.
  • Swiftly spreading stains or dampness on or around the walls or ceiling near your chimney.
  • A thunderous or cracking sound out of the blue.

If you believe your chimney or fireplace is damaged, it's better to be safe than sorry. Let a chimney expert inspect it before using it in cold weather.


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