An attractive wood-burning fireplace is an impressive home feature that many homebuyers want. Not only does it add character to the living space, but the sounds and aroma of a crackling fire soothe the soul. However, there are a few things to consider when buying a home with a chimney.
There is a difference between a home inspection and a chimney inspection. While a home inspector may do a cursory review of the fireplace, it is not the same thorough level two inspection that a Certified Chimney Sweep® performs.
During a level 2 real estate chimney inspection, a qualified chimney professional examines the interior and exterior of the structure to determine if any repairs are necessary to maintain the integrity and safety of the chimney.
A video scan is also conducted to determine if there are any abnormalities in the flue liner that are difficult to see with the naked eye. If the inspection uncovers potential serious issues that require access to an inaccessible area, a level 3 inspection will be necessary to remove the components and locate the problem source.
Also, it can be dangerous to light an unfamiliar fireplace without knowing its existing condition. When buying a home with a chimney, always hire a qualified chimney professional to inspect the chimney and fireplace.
If this is your first time buying a home with a fireplace, chimney cleaning is a vital part of maintaining a safe fireplace. Some of the exhaust from the fire burning process sticks to the interior walls and components inside the chimney. The creosote, soot, and other particulates can be damaging to the masonry and metal parts. Creosote, which starts as a powdery substance, hardens into a flammable material if it is not removed. Its excessive accumulation is the primary cause of a chimney fire. Before lighting the fireplace for the first time in your new home, hire a professional chimney sweep to clean the chimney.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends homeowners using fossil or liquid fuel heating appliances to have a chimney inspection and cleaning annually.
As a new fireplace owner, you will need to have a set of fireplace tools so you can safely manage a fire. A typical set includes a shovel, poker, broom, ash rake, and stand. Your local chimney sweep can provide you with instruction on its use along with other useful fireplace safety tips.
When buying firewood, only source wood that has been seasoned or dried for at least six months. The low moisture content in seasoned firewood gives you a hotter and longer-lasting fire with less smoke and creosote.
Whether you have a gas or wood-burning fireplace, safety experts recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can also be deadly. The CO detector will sound an alarm if carbon monoxide gas is detected in your home.