Let’s talk about the chimney and fireplace!  Just how important is it to know the ins and outs of these parts of your potential new home BEFORE you close?  

The short answer is….it depends.  It depends on whether you really want to use the fireplace and chimney or not.  If having a fireplace that works is a deal-breaker, then you absolutely do want to get the chimney inspected by someone familiar with Level 2 Inspection process as outlined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).  Most CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps have access to this training.  When asking about the certification, be sure to specifically ask if the technician providing your service is trained in performing a Level 2 Inspection AND reporting the results to you clearly.  

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Level 2 Inspection can identify hidden flaws and potential costly repairs.  Statistics show that almost half of home buyers say they would spend extra money on a house with a fireplace.  That being the case, for those folks, it is very important to have a thorough, well-documented inspection to insure that the fireplace is well-maintained and functional.  

What can make a chimney/fireplace not functional?  Here are a few examples.

  • The inside of chimney has sustained damage from an unfriendly fire event (i.e. a previous chimney fire).  Repairs for this scenario can cost as much as $5k-$8K, depending on details. (Clue: missing damper plate can indicate prior wood stove insert installation.  Wood stove inserts when not properly installed or maintained can increase the chances of chimney fires.)
  • The flue may be undersized for the fireplace opening; or the chimney may not be tall enough causing performance (smokeback) issues.  These are construction flaws and a resolution could cost $3k-$5K. (Clue: staining over the face of the fireplace opening)
  • Some prefabricated manufactured fireplaces have serious deterioration due to age.  At times replacement parts are no longer available. This normally necessitates a system replacement if the system is not viable.  Replacement costs of this nature can cost as much as $5k-$9K depending on details. (Clue: excessive rust in firebox, damper area or on chase cover)

This is by no means a comprehensive listing of all the things that can make a chimney/fireplace system nonfunctional.  Because, as a buyer, you want to know as much as possible about the house you are considering for your new home, you may want to bring in your own chimney professional in addition to the normal home inspector for an in depth review of your fireplace and chimney – with your intended usage (i.e. woodburning or gas appliance) in mind.  

After a complete Level 2 Inspection is performed, Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth‘s trusted chimney professionals will provide a comprehensive report outlining options for how the chimney/fireplace system can be utilized (or not), documentation pictures, and recommendations for resolving any issues found.  Let us help enrich your home hearth experience.