If you are in the market to buy a home, you want to be sure the house you invest in is in good condition with no potentially expensive problems. When the home includes a fireplace and chimney, you should make sure that a chimney inspection is performed by a chimney professional, such as one of our expert chimney technicians from The Mad Hatter. Even though you are required to have the home inspected before signing a contract, the average home inspector is not qualified to inspect the fireplace and chimney system and can miss problems that a chimney expert would find. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developed three levels of chimney inspections to cover specific items depending on the individual appliance and venting system. We follow these three levels when inspecting chimneys, and we know which situation warrants a specific level. We would like to tell you more about real estate chimney inspections so that you can be sure you are making the right decisions during this important time in your life.
What level of chimney inspection do I need if I am buying a home?
The NFPA states that a Level 2 chimney inspection is needed upon the sale or transfer of a property. A Level 2 chimney inspection includes the basic Level 1 inspection in which we examine the readily accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior and the accessible portions of the appliance and its connection to the chimney. We will be looking for the basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections. We will also guarantee that the flue is free from blockages and has no major accumulations of creosote deposits. The Level 2 chimney inspection will also include an examination of the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior, including the attic, crawl space, and basement. It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations. This level of inspection also includes a visual inspection by video scanning to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney.
Why do I need a chimney inspection in addition to my home inspection?
A home inspector is not necessarily trained to know all of the applicable building codes for chimney and venting systems. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) gives a perfect example of why you need a professional chimney inspection in their blog “Wisdom from the Hearth.” After receiving a home inspection that indicated no problems with the prefabricated fireplace and chimney, a professional chimney company found issues with the rooftop chimney height, drywall exposure, and separation of the hearth from the wall. Without the Level 2 chimney inspection, this home would be in danger of a devastating chimney fire due to those issues.
What happens if there are problems found in the chimney system of the home I wish to buy?
According to Ashley Eldridge, the Director of Education for the CSIA, “if issues are found, the homeowner should be responsible for the cost of the repair, put the money in escrow, or deduct the costs from the selling price.” This is why it is so important to schedule a professional chimney inspection before you buy the house.
Looking for a new house? Contact us at The Mad Hatter to schedule a Level 2 chimney inspection today.