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fireplace inspector

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Should I get my fireplace inspected?....

Both CREIA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend a yearly, professional home inspector inspection to include the checking of chimney, flues and vents for leakage and blockage by creosote and debris. Leakage through cracks or holes could cause black stains in the outside of the chimney and flue. These stains mean that pollutants are leaking into the house. Most people are not aware that a fireplace inadequately maintained and vented can produce more carbon monoxide infiltration into the home’s interior than several furnaces and water heater flue vents combined, and a Folsom Home Inspector can prevent this.

Several problems may occur at the chimney and firebox that the average homeowner is unaware, such as corroded or inoperable metal smoke damper, a damaged metal ash dump cover, eroded mortar joints at the rear and side interior hearth fire brick walls and base, inadequate hearth extension, improper clearance from combustible materials at the hearth opening or at the chimney within the attic space, a cracked flue liner or no flue liner at all especially at older chimneys, a damaged cement cap at the chimney top which can allow moisture intrusion into the chimney interior chase ultimately deteriorating the entire system. Also, there is the possibility that the ash dump pit is overfilled, the exterior clean-out cast iron cover is missing or below exterior grade or under the house within the foundation crawl space area (which is no longer an approved location as the spillage of hot ashes under a home presents a distinct fire hazard). The chimney top should be inspected and equipped with a weather capped spark arrestor to help prevent seasonal moisture intrusion into the chimney interior and the escape of hot embers when operating the fireplace. This is very important when the home has a wood shingle or shake roof covering.

Consider the following advice when looking to hire a Folsom home inspection specialist: check to see if the company or individual you call is a member of a state chimney guild or association; check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if there is a record of any complaints; and most important, do not allow the fireplace/chimney inspector perform corrective work for any defects that are reported (this is a conflict of interest). Get a written report from the home inspection specialist, then hire and then hire a state licensed masonry contractor to do the actual repair work.



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