Thorough Home Inspections

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Thorough Home Inspections

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Fireplace and Chimney Inspections

A chimney inspection is an examination of the internal construction and the state of repair of a chimney, which may be necessary for its proper maintenance. The particulars of any required work will depend on the type of fuel burned, whether the homeowner uses wood or another fuel. For instance, clay liners are used in some fireplaces to prevent leakage, and flue tiles should be inspected for cracks or damage. Chimneys may need repair or a thorough cleaning if they are used to burn coal, which produces sulfur dioxide gas that forms sulfurous acid on the flue walls.

The inspection will include a check of each section for any signs of cracking, rusting, or other damage. In the case of a brick chimney, cracks or holes can be patched with mortar. If a flue tile is missing or cracked, it must be replaced immediately so as to prevent leakage and the buildup of carbon monoxide in the home. Flashing may have to be repaired if loose or broken. In general, any section that cannot be checked specifically because of its location must be deemed in satisfactory condition for safety’s sake.

Finally, the chimney should be checked for signs that any repairs or cleaning were carried out. This may involve knocking on the bricks to hear whether they sound solid; looking for mortar joints to make sure none are crumbling; examining the exterior after dusk with a flashlight or other light source to see if there are any signs of leakage, and running the hands over the exterior walls to feel for spalling.

Is a chimney part of a home inspection?

A chimney is a part of a home. There is no question about this and it would be included in the full inspection of the home. The actual inspection can vary from inspector to inspector depending on their area of expertise. Some might look at only the visible areas of the chimney whereas others may even go inside if they feel like it is necessary for safety reasons.

This is one of those questions that might arise as some people may not know exactly what is and isn’t part of a home inspection.

The inspector will closely look at the chimney and its general integrity to make sure it has no cracks or holes, and that it can safely hold up the weight of fire. If the inspector feels that the chimney is unsound they might not advise purchasing it.

The inspector may also find loose mortar joints, cracked hearthstones, or damage to the crown of the chimney. These things are not necessarily a cause for worry unless there was a fire in it recently. Fires can take their toll on a chimney, warping and cracking the brick in some cases.

Inspectors will also check to see if the damper is in good working order if it opens and closes properly when you use a tool or one of your fingers to open it at the side of the fireplace. If there is no damper, but just a pipe going straight up in the chimney, this is a red flag to not buying the house.

It is possible for a home inspector to miss something serious with the chimney if it lies under other parts of the roof or it has bricks that are painted over. If you suspect there might be an issue with your chimney, get someone who knows what they are doing to check it out.

Fireplace Inspection: 

A fireplace is an important part of any home. It can keep you warm in the winters and it gives off a pleasant mood for family dinners. They are great, however, they do come with major risks that could endanger your life or property. Therefore it is essential to have them inspected before installation and then periodically during its use.

Fireplace inspections help you to identify any damages or defects that might be present in your fireplace. They are primarily used as a safety measure, however, they do have other benefits too.

Fireplace inspections can help you detect:

  • weak spots where the structure of the fireplace could be compromised
  • damage made by animals or insects
  • cracks or leaks caused by wear and tear or weather conditions
  • cracks or leaks around the chimney which could indicate a problem.

Having regular inspections for your fireplace is one of the best ways to avoid major problems with it in the future. It is also a good way to keep track and know about routine maintenance that needs to be done like cleaning, repairs, etc.

What is involved in a chimney inspection?

Chimneys are an integral part of any home.  A chimney is used to help with ventilation when there is a fire in the fireplace.  While most people think that their chimney simply vents smoke out, it actually has many different functions.  A professional chimney inspection ensures that your chimney system is operating safely and efficiently.

As the strong smell of smoke fills your home in uncontrolled fire, carbon monoxide is also released into the air.  Over time, exposure to this poisonous gas builds up and can cause gastrointestinal problems, cognitive impairment, heart complications, and even death.  The high-powered chimney exhaust system actually pulls the smoke and carbon monoxide fumes up the chimney where they are released into the sky.  If there is a blockage in this system, then the smoke and toxins will be released back into your home causing you, your family or your pets to become ill.

Radiant heat is another hazard that can occur during an uncontrolled fire.  This is the heat that you feel from a fire.  The gases inside of your home begin to build up and can cause burns or pose a fire hazard if not vented properly from your chimney system.

Who Do You Need?

When it comes time for a professional inspection, there are several things that will happen before the inspector comes to your home. Our Thorough Home Inspections will contact you to make an appointment for your inspection.  This can be done by phone or email. Our inspector will come to the house at the scheduled time and will bring all of his equipment with him. He will start on top of your roof and work his way down through your chimney.  At the top of the chimney, he will use a video camera to look inside to inspect if there are any cracks, blockages, or damage. He will also use his brush and dusting tools to get rid of creosote buildup deep inside your chimney system.

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