There are different reasons why a chimney can become damaged. Large objects like trees or scaffolding etc. may fall on it, different types of extreme weather conditions can cause deterioration or even earthquakes can damage a chimney. Whatever the reason is, however, a damaged chimney can become a safety hazard especially if it is in danger of collapse. This would not just affect the outside of the home, but a chimney will often fall in on itself, making this especially dangerous for anyone inside the home.
So, how can you tell if the chimney needs repairing? There are some simple things you can do like stand back from the home and look at the entire chimney, does it look like its leaning or listing? Are there any signs that it is starting to come away from the rest of the home? Take a look at the footings of the chimney, what kind or condition are they in? Do you observe any deterioration? Another thing you can try is to take a screwdriver and scrape some of the mortar on the chimney, does it crumble easily? These are all signs that the chimney is in disrepair.
Some areas of the chimney are not so easy to check so, what can you do to find out the condition of those areas? One way is by having the chimney inspected. A home inspector can point out any areas of concern they observe and advise you about what to do next.