Buying a Home with a Chimney? Here’s What You Need to Know:
When purchasing a home, most buyers understand the importance of a home inspection. However, homebuyers may not realize that if the home has a chimney, it will also need a chimney inspection. Here’s why:
Real Estate Chimney Inspection Vs. Home Inspection
Most home inspectors follow the National Association of Home Inspectors guidelines, which includes a visual review of the major home systems. When home inspectors look at the fireplace and chimney, it is a cursory review rather than a detailed chimney inspection.
On the other hand, a Certified Chimney Sweep® is a chimney professional with extensive training that follows industry-standard National Fireplace Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines. A qualified chimney professional has the training, expertise, and specialized equipment required to perform the Level 2 real estate chimney inspection that is essential when buying a home with a chimney. A level 2 inspection is a comprehensive visual examination of the accessible areas of the entire chimney system, including the chimney crown, masonry, damper, and firebox, to name a few. It also includes a video scan of the flue which can pick up defects in the lining that are otherwise difficult to spot.
Chimney Damage and Repairs
The chimney inspector will provide the home buyer with a detailed evaluation of the chimney to determine whether any repairs or replacements will be necessary to maintain its structural integrity and safe operation of attached heating appliances. Weather conditions can damage the chimney cap and metal flashing necessitating its repair to prevent water intrusion. Also, homes that are in cold or temperate climates may have some spalling or cracked bricks that are difficult to spot without a comprehensive chimney inspection. It can lead to structural damage and exposure to carbon monoxide gas without timely repairs.
Will It Need a Level 3 Chimney Inspection?
Depending on the condition of the chimney during a level 2 inspection, the inspector may recommend a more extensive level 3 inspection that will require the removal of some of the components to gain entry to inaccessible areas of the chimney.
Chimney Cleaning and Maintenance
The chimney inspector will also inform potential buyers if professional chimney cleaning is required to remove excessive build-up of creosote, corrosive gases, soot, and other debris in the flue. An accumulation of more than 1/8″ of creosote is considered a fire hazard, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Since a chimney fire can damage masonry and other components, your chimney professional will let you know if there are signs of a prior chimney fire.
Your local chimney inspector has a wealth of knowledge and will answer any questions you may have regarding the chimney and heating appliances. The chimney professional will also be able to give you money-saving tips on increasing heating efficiency, reducing energy costs, and safely cleaning and maintaining the chimney.
When buying a home with a chimney, don’t take chances. Hire a Certified Chimney Sweep® to inspect the chimney.