Do Home Inspections Include Chimney Inspections?
The answer to that question is yes and no. A professional home inspector, like those called in prior to the sale of a home, will look at the fireplace and chimney, checking for obvious signs of problems such as the chimney falling apart, holes in the side of the firebox, and gas leaks in a gas fueled fireplace. These are all good things to know before selling or buying a home, but an actual chimney inspection goes much deeper.
Whether it’s right or wrong, home inspectors simply don’t spend the time nor do they have the tools and experience to properly inspect a chimney and fireplace. Many new homeowners have regretted the mistake of believing their new fireplace was perfectly safe and operational just because the home, as a whole, was approved by the inspector. You don’t want that to happen to you.
A correct chimney inspection
Professional chimney sweeps, whose job it is to clean, inspect and service your chimney and fireplace, perform a Level 2 inspection when the home is being sold. This is the type of inspection recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. In performing this inspection, the chimney sweep can work for either the seller or the buyer.
A Level 2 inspection includes a close look at the external and internal sections of both the chimney and fireplace. The inspector will use video equipment to examine down inside the chimney and will physically access the roof, attic, crawl space and any other area that provides information about the condition of the chimney.
Targets of a thorough chimney inspection include:
- The structure of the chimney itself to check for cracks, decomposition and breakdown that could make it dangerous to operate
- The structure will also be inspected to ensure it has the correct clearance distance from the building materials of the home
- Any areas that show signs of water penetration
- The condition of the liner or the inside walls of the chimney, checking for excess creosote buildup that could lead to a fire, and obstructions (debris, animal nests, etc.) that could impede air flow
- The condition of components such as the chimney cap, chimney liner, flashing, chimney crown and damper
A proper chimney inspection isn’t just concerned with what’s happening at the moment of the inspection, but rather how those things could turn into large problems later on. There’s no way that a simple visual look-over will uncover potential trouble down the line that could be costly to repair or dangerous to live around.
For this reason, if you’re selling your home, schedule a professional chimney inspection. The buyers will thank you for it. And if you’re buying a home, if the owner won’t pay for a chimney inspection, pay for it yourself, assuming the home is worth it to you.
In the West Hartford, CT, area, people trust Northeastern Chimney for professional, timely chimney and fireplace inspection, cleaning and repair work. If you’d like to know more about our services, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment, we’re standing by at (860) 233-5770.