Requesting a home inspection is something that most prospective home buyers do without question. The ability to know that the home they’ve fallen in love with is structurally secure and has no major problems with plumbing, electrical, and even some appliances, is priceless. Many home buyers don’t realize that the normal home inspection doesn’t cover many elements of the fireplace or chimney. A home inspector is only required to look at the exterior surface of those, unless requested otherwise. Some inspectors will go onto the roof to examine the chimney and flashing but only if you request ahead of time.

That’s why we always recommend purchasing a chimney inspection from one of our professional technicians at Lou Curley’s Chimney Services. We are CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified and we can take care of virtually any problem that we may find with the chimneys we inspect. Here are six parts of the chimney and fireplace that a normal home inspection does not cover:

  1. The Chimney Cap. A home inspector may make a visual inspection of the chimney cap and say yes it is there or no it isn’t. They won’t normally go onto the chimney to examine the chimney cap to ensure that it is doing its job properly.
  2. Test the Mortar. Chimneys are very strong and durable, that’s true. But mortar is porous and takes damage from the elements over time. It may begin to flake off or need to be repointed.
  3. The Flue. The flue is the inner liner of the chimney. It may be made of a few different materials, but whatever the material, it must be in good condition and free of cracks or bulges. We will also look for excessive creosote.
  4. The Doors. If the fireplace has glass doors, we will inspect the gaskets to ensure they still seal properly.
  5. The Blower. Many fireplaces have a blower that helps circulate heat throughout the room. They are not generally equipped with a filtering system and they may become bogged down with dirt. Excessive dust on the blower is a fire hazard.
  6. The Appliance. The fireplace’s firebox or the wood burning stove’s liner may become damaged with excessive heat.

We agree that a home inspection and a roof inspection are extremely important when you’re buying a home. We feel that, unfortunately, the chimney inspection is far too often overlooked or assumed to have been covered by the home inspection. As we indicated above, some home inspectors will cover the chimney and fireplace, but only on request. Please keep in mind that if you request a chimney inspection from a home inspector, they may not have experience in that particular area.

When you move into your new home, change the batteries in the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors. And then make sure to schedule your next chimney inspection and battery changes for one year from that date. Keep all of those fireplace-related security measures on the same date and you won’t forget them. Call us when you’re ready to schedule a chimney inspection or cleaning.