Buying a Home? Don’t Skip the Chimney Inspection

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Inspections are an integral part of buying a house. Your lender will insist on a home inspection, termite inspection, and possibly a roof inspection. The inspection that isn’t always required is a chimney inspection. Don’t rely on the home inspection to tell you that the chimney is in good working condition. Home inspectors are not usually certified chimney inspectors as well.

Here are a few factors to consider when buying a home with a chimney:

  • Previous Maintenance: There is no maintenance schedule that you can refer to like a Carfax report for your chimney. All you have is the word of the previous owner whether or not chimney cleaning and inspection was part of their normal home maintenance routine.
  • Creosote Buildup: You can shine a very strong flashlight up the chimney to look for creosote. Normal creosote will resemble tar and shouldn’t block the chimney. Burned creosote will have a honeycomb texture. This is a huge warning sign that there has been a chimney fire at some point. More inspection needs to be done before you can trust this chimney.
  • Damaged Cap: The chimney cap should sit atop the chimney and provide protection for the flue. The mesh around the cap should be uniform and without damage to prevent birds and small critters from getting into the chimney.
  • Damaged Crown: The crown should slope gently from the center to the edges and wick water away from the brick and mortar body of the chimney.
  • Damaged Flashing: The flashing is the metal that joins the chimney to the roof. It’s designed to carry water from the chimney to the shingles and prevent water damage where the chimney meets the roof. Rust or damaged metal are signs of damage and need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Damaged Brick or Mortar: Inspect the exterior of the chimney for damaged brick or mortar. If you notice spalling (flaking brick) or other obvious signs of damage, repair is imminent.
  • Damaged Flue: You may not be able to see the flue to assess potential damage without a very bright flashlight or a CCTV camera system. A damaged flue puts your family at risk because smoke and dangerous gasses don’t properly leave through the top of the chimney. This is one of many causes of carbon monoxide poisoning when faulty equipment is involved.

The CSIA certified chimney sweeps at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service in Drexel Hill are waiting to hear from you. We’re a family-owned and operated company with more than 20 years of experience in the field. We work to further our education and gain or renew our certifications every year so that we can offer you the best in chimney services. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if you’re in Drexel Hill or anywhere along the Main Line and in need of chimney services or inspection.

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