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Fireplaces are a common amenity that homeowners look for when shopping for a new home. Fireplaces and chimneys can be very beneficial, especially during the winter months. But are the most overlooked part of a home inspection. And can end up costing you up to $10,000+ in repair costs. Or you don't get to use it because you cannot afford the repairs. BEFORE you purchase a home with a heating unit and chimney there are some essential things that you should know first.
Of course, before purchasing a home, a home inspection is a part of the standard operating procedure. However, home inspectors do not have knowledge or experience when it comes to properly evaluating a chimney system. That’s why the Chimney Safety Institute of America calls for a Level-Two chimney inspection during the sale of a home. During this inspection, chimney professionals will inspect the fireplace and the chimney system that are accessible via the roof, attic, and crawlspace areas. Generally, during these inspections, a specialized camera will be used to check the condition of the chimney flue and look for any blockages. A chimney inspection validates that the chimney and fireplace are safe for use and constructed or installed according to building codes. If you are thinking of buying a home with a chimney & heating unit, PLEASE give us a call first. You will be so glad you did. 517-688-5278
Dirty chimneys are often the prime culprit in some of the most destructive residential fires in the country. When wood in your fireplace is burned, the smoke produced leaves a residue on the inside of your chimney; if this residue is allowed to build up, it produces a sticky, black substance known as creosote. Creosote is a flammable material that causes chimney fires, which in turn cause property damage. The cleaning and maintenance of your chimney will ensure that it is clean, safe for use, and that all of the components are in proper working condition. While it is possible to perform your own chimney cleaning, it is quite strenuous work that requires the use of a few specialized tools that most homeowners simply don’t have handy. It is more convenient and hassle-free to hire a certified chimney sweep to do the job.
All hearth appliances vary from one another. If you plan on purchasing a home with a fireplace and chimney, you will need to learn how to use and maintain your appliance. That means understanding which types of fuels to burn in the fireplace and how to properly use any dampers. Additionally, you must know how to use any controls that are unique to your appliance and how you can maintain it between your annual chimney sweeping and professional inspection. Ask the previous homeowner for any manuals that might go with the fireplace, and if there isn’t, your chimney sweep should be able to help you understand its safe use.
All homes are required to have fire safety tools, especially when you have a fireplace or a heating stove. For extra precaution, a fire extinguisher should be accessible on each level of your home and you should know how to properly use it — this could make the difference between a fire that is manageable and one that is uncontrollable and will leave you with a lot of damage. Additionally, each floor — plus all sleeping areas — of your home should be equipped with smoke detectors as well as carbon monoxide detectors, both of which will need to be inspected and have batteries changed regularly to ensure they are working.
If you have never owned a home with a fireplace and chimney, all of this information can seem overwhelming and intimidating. Fortunately, the chimney and fireplace professionals at Gorton Chimney & Fireplace are here to help homeowners with the safe care and use of their hearth appliances. If you’re purchasing a home with a chimney contact us to schedule an inspection today! 517-688-5278