Termite letters, Home Inspections, Electricians, Plumbers, HVAC. It seems the list is endless with each opening up its own can of nasty worms.
Best case scenario, as an afterthought, just before closing, someone thinks about the chimney. Worst case scenario, after all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, when all is settling down – just before the first fire is lit, a chimney sweep is called in to give the final ok for “safe” operations. The home Inspector said it just needs to be cleaned, so it’s simply a matter of getting that done and then we’re good to go, right?
Pray that Life was so kind. Chimney Sweep comes and cleans. When the soot clears, so to speak, there are all kinds of issues revealed.
Moral to the story – Get the chimney its own inspection by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep – BEFORE signing on the dotted line.
- Some issues that are revealed by a thorough inspection may be normal wear and tear or maintenance. These type things may not have a real bearing on the purchase of the house. No house is perfect and no chimney is perfect.
- On the other hand, there may be serious damage or construction flaws that will be expensive to remedy. Better to know this before committing to buying the house and fireplace of your dreams, only to have your dreams turn into nightmares.
Things you’ll want to find out…
- Is it dirty? You can’t really tell whether a chimney has problems if it’s dirty.
- If it’s masonry built
- Is the liner the right size for the fireplace opening?
- Is the chimney tall enough?
- Is the liner installed properly?
- Has it ever had a wood stove installed in the fireplace or attached to the chimney? If so, a closer look is merited.
- Is the liner broken?
- If its manufactured prefabricated
- Are all the pieces there?
- Are all the pieces put together correctly?
- Are there pieces that are not supposed to be there?
- Is the chase cover rusted?
- Has it been damaged or modified? Modifications can make it unsafe to use.
- Does it have gas logs? Or a gas starter?
- What happens if it has gas installed and it’s not supposed to? Yes, there are prefab fireplaces that are not supposed to have gas appliances installed in them.
- Can it be used in its present condition?
- If it cannot be used as it sits, what options are there for making it usable?