Halloween is coming and with it stories of monsters, ghosts, goblins, and witches. What’s the best way to keep this creatures away? Well, we’re not so sure about most things, but when it comes to witches, we might have some good news for those with a bend in their chimney. This slanted design is called a witches crook and, legend has it, if you have one, the witches will stay away.

What’s the Purpose of a Witches Crook?

Many fireplaces are located in a place that doesn’t line up to where the chimney is built on the roof.  The reason for this is typically because a chimney tends to look best on the highest point of the roof – and that doesn’t always mean it is directly above the fireplace. To keep everything looking great, a witches crook was built to help the smoke in the fireplace reach the end of your chimney.

What’s in a name?

silhouette of a witch flying over a full, bright moonSo, where does the witch come into play? For as long as there have been fireplaces built into homes, there have been stories and legends associated with them. When the fire is lit, the smoke has to be able to get outside and, of course, if smoke can get out, then it’s up to the imagination to decide what can get in. Cultures around the world have all come up with different ideas and stories of what these things might be.

In the Hebrides Islands off of Scotland, they were evil fairy demons that could be appeased with treats left for them by the fire. In Greece, India, and many other places, babies were delivered through the chimney by storks. In much of the world, Santa comes through the chimney bearing gifts for good little boys and girls.

And, like the stories above, the name witches crook comes from similar origins.Stories were told about witches that would make their way into homes through the chimney. Many people in history believed that the bend in the masonry of the chimney was put there to keep witches from being able to fly down directly into the chimney and terrorize the home.

Now, not every chimney has a witches crook but just because you don’t see one straight away doesn’t mean that there isn’t one built into an area that isn’t immediately visible. Often, the part of the chimney located in the attic will contain the witches crook. This is simply to keep everything looking tidy.

Will My Witches Crook Invite Issues?

If you have a witches crook in your chimney, fear not! A witches crook almost never is the cause of problems for a chimney. 

A witches crook almost never is the cause of problems for a chimney. 

However there are things you should always be looking for when examining your chimney.  Here are five things to watch for:

  • masonry chimney viewed from the bottom with smoke coming out of itCreosote: Creosote is a thick, sticky, oily liquid that is the primary substance in preserving wood. It can be toxic, and because it is made up of many different elements, like salt and water, it can build up in your chimney  It is highly combustible. so buildup is likely to catch fire, which can be a big danger to your home. This is why scheduling regular sweepings is so imperative.
  • Clogs: If smoke can escape your chimney, then other things must be able to get in, right? Over time things may drop into your chimney. Depending on the area you live and its natural surroundings, you may be susceptible to debris falling into your flue and creating clogs – which then leads to smoke backup and other hazards.
  • Animals: Every once in a while, wandering wildlife find their way into chimneys. Sometimes it’s to escape the elements, sometimes they want to nest, and other times they are just curious. It’s best to find them early, get them out, then have a cap installed to prevent further entry down the line.
  • Cracks & Deterioration: Over time, mortar can crack, which can lead to bigger problems later on. If not dealt with, real structural damage can occur, which is both dangerous and can lead to serious inefficiency. Fortunately, most problems can be fixed with a little professional help.
  • Leaks and Water Damage: Houston can be wet year round. Water is called a universal solvent because it deteriorates more chemicals than any other substance. If it is able to get in and pool up throughout your chimney and fireplace, it can trigger all types of decay, rust, and deterioration.

Trust Our Team of Professionals This Halloween

As the heat gives way to winter’s cooler weather, we are reminded that the witches are coming – and that it might be time to get some professional eyes on our chimney. Lords Chimney is made up of a team of highly trained individuals that can help you identify creosote, clogs, invasive animals, cracks, and leaks, as well as other invisible problems that might lead to potentially devastating effects down the road.

Lords Chimney is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and part of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) which means that they are among the most knowledgeable and professional chimney technicians in America.

Call or book your next service online today.