Real Estate Chimney Inspections
Before signing on the dotted line for a new home with a fireplace, be sure the chimney is in good condition and safe to use. What many people don’t realize is that real estate home inspectors very rarely inspect chimneys while they are making sure the rest of the home is free of major problems. In fact, a note often made on home inspectors’ reports is that a chimney professional should be consulted to clean and inspect the chimney.
More to the point, anytime a home is being sold, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a leading fire safety organization, requires a Level 2 chimney inspection according to guidelines of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
What Could Go Wrong?
Merely assuming that a fireplace and chimney are in good shape is something residents in the U.S. do every year, which results in thousands of home fires. Approximately 22,300 destructive chimney fires occur each year, resulting in an average of 20 fatalities annually. The typical cause of the fires is the lack of chimney maintenance.
What is a Level 2 Chimney Inspection?
There are three levels of chimney inspections, and the second involves an in-depth examination of the chimney and fireplace, inside and out. A special camera is used to carefully inspect the chimney flue. If there is any damage to the flue liner, it means that the home is at great risk until the flue is repaired or replaced.
With a thorough chimney inspection, places in the home where smoke may have gone are checked. A faulty flue is rarely obvious. Smoke could have routinely been expelled through a home’s interior into crawl spaces and the attic.
The roof must be checked, as well, because the chimney structure is attached to it. The chimney flashing meant to create a waterproof connection between the chimney exterior and the roof is difficult to install correctly. Faulty flashing is a common problem that results in chimney leaks that cause unseen internal damage sometimes for long periods of time before the problem becomes evident. By then, the roof could be riddled with rotten wood; and water leaks may have caused mold growth in interior walls, to name a couple of the potential issues that may exist.
Detection of Previous Fires and Damaged Masonry
As dangerous as chimney fires are, they sometimes go unnoticed. When a chimney inspector does a thorough job, fire damage that requires repair can become evident. Chimney fires often result in damaged flue liners. As bad as fires are, water is the biggest enemy to chimneys.
Failure of chimney caps, chimney crowns, and mortar can all result in extensive moisture damage. Bits of broken masonry around a chimney give proof of spalling, which means the brick face is popping and breaking off. Spalling is typically the result of moisture within the masonry system. In winter, the freezing and thawing of the moisture causes the bricks to also expand and contract, leading to the slow destruction of the masonry.
Contact Mercer County Chimney Service
To ensure that your Level 2 chimney inspection is conducted by professionals who know what they’re doing, contact Mercer County Chimney Service. The technicians are trained and CSIA-certified to provide thorough chimney inspections. Peace of mind is always required to enjoy a major purchase such as a house. Before making the purchase of your home a done deal, be sure to call the chimney experts at Mercer County Chimney Service to give you an accurate report of the condition of the chimney and fireplace or wood stove. Call 609-802-5288 today.