chimney FAQ

How To Get My Flue Open When It’s Stuck?

Short Answer: If your flue is stuck, you can get it open by following a few simple steps. Start by lubricating the mechanism with silicon spray such as WD-40, then begin to apply gentle force in attempting to open the flue. Finally, if necessary, remove any obstructions that may be blocking your flue.

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A well-functioning flue is essential for maintaining fireplace safety and efficiency. The flue, which is an integral part of your chimney, allows smoke and gasses to escape safely. However, sometimes flues can become stuck due to debris, rust, or other issues.

At Lindemann, we’re experts in all things related to your chimney and fireplace. We’ll walk you through a step-by-step process to help you open a stuck flue and get your fireplace back in working order.

Take Proper Safety Precautions

Before attempting to open your stuck flue, it’s important to take some safety precautions. These are some of the safety measures to keep in mind prior to getting started:

  • Disconnect any heat sources, such as gas or wood fires, before working on the flue.
  • Wear protective gear, including gloves and safety goggles, to shield yourself from potential hazards.
  • Ensure proper ventilation in the area where you’ll be working.
  • Consider having a partner to help you if the task proves challenging.

Thoroughly Assess The Situation

Start by identifying the type of flue you have, such as a damper, top-sealing, or another mechanism. Determine the cause of the stuck flue, which could be due to debris, rust, warped parts, or other factors. Inspect the flue for visible damage or obstructions that could be causing the problem.

Determine The Cause Of The Stuck Flue

Determining the cause of a stuck flue can involve several steps. Here are some tips to help you identify the issue:

  1. Visual Inspection: Use a flashlight to carefully inspect the flue and its components. Look for any visible signs of damage, rust, or obstructions that may be causing the flue to become stuck.
  2. Check for Debris: Examine the flue for any buildup of debris, such as soot, creosote, leaves, or bird nests. These can obstruct the flue’s opening and prevent it from operating correctly.
  3. Test the Mechanism: Gently attempt to move the flue damper or other mechanism, taking note of any resistance or abnormal sounds. This can help you pinpoint if the problem lies with the mechanism itself or if there is an obstruction.
  4. Look for Rust or Corrosion: Examine the flue and its components for signs of rust or corrosion. Over time, moisture can cause metal parts to corrode, making them difficult to move or prone to breaking.
  5. Assess the Flue Damper: If your flue has a damper, ensure that it’s properly installed and functioning. A warped or damaged damper can prevent the flue from opening and closing as intended.

Gather All Of The Necessary Tools

To open your stuck flue, you’ll need to gather some common tools as well as some lubricant that may be necessary to loosen the stuck mechanism. Here are the tools you’ll need:

  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Flashlight
  • Lubricant (silicone spray, graphite powder, etc.)

Each tool has a specific purpose in the process, so ensure you have them on hand before proceeding. This will ensure a smooth and efficient process so you can thoroughly unstick your chimney flue.

Lubricate the Mechanism

Lubricating the flue mechanism can help loosen stuck parts and make it easier to open. Depending on your flue type, you may need to use a silicone spray or graphite powder as a lubricant. Apply the lubricant to the mechanism and wait for the recommended time on the product label for it to work. After the allotted time, you can apply gentle force on the opening mechanism to see if it will budge.

Apply Gentle Force

Once the lubricant has had time to penetrate the mechanism, attempt to open the flue by applying gentle force. Use caution to avoid causing damage to the flue or surrounding components. Techniques to try include:

  • Tapping the mechanism with a wrench or mallet to help dislodge stuck parts
  • Using leverage with a tool, such as pliers, to gently nudge the flue open

Remember, patience and caution are key to avoid causing damage to your flue. Don’t apply too much pressure and call a professional at Lindemann at any point if you feel overwhelmed or unsure about the process. It’s easier for a professional to unstick a flue than it is to fix a broken flue.

Clean and Remove Obstructions

If you discover debris or obstructions in the flue, carefully remove them to ensure proper functioning. Regular flue cleaning is important to prevent future issues and maintain the safety and efficiency of your fireplace.

In some cases, it may be necessary to clear any obstructions in the flue damper or chimney box. If this is the case, take extra precautions when it comes to working on your roof. At this point, it may be time to call a professional for help in order to properly assess and fix the problem so you don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk.

Know When to Call a Professional

In some cases, you may need to call a professional to help with your stuck flue. Signs that it’s time to seek expert assistance include:

  • Extensive rust that compromises the integrity of the flue
  • Visible damage to the flue or surrounding components
  • Inability to open the flue despite following the above steps

To find a reputable chimney sweep or fireplace professional, ask for recommendations from friends, family, or online reviews.


A well-functioning flue is crucial for maintaining the safety and efficiency of your fireplace. By following the steps outlined here, you can open your stuck flue and get back to enjoying cozy fires. Don’t forget to regularly maintain your fireplace and flue to prevent future issues and ensure the safety of your home.