Inspecting an Old Fireplace and Chimney
“Inspecting an Old Fireplace"
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First, assess whether or not you need to clean the fireplace or chimney.
The fireplace should be cleaned when there is…
- ⅛” of soot or build-up inside the chimney and/or flue system
- Any glaze detected in the flue system (regardless of sooty buildup)
- Any detectable issues with ventilation when a fire is lit
Second, assess any structural concerns:
- Does the chimney have a cap? Is there a functional damper installed?
- Is the fireplace/chimney made of brick? Can you see any damage? Does it need to be repointed?
- If the home is much older, it’s possible that the fireplace isn’t sealed. If this is the case, a professional needs to seal it immediately before use, or the fire could spread to the rest of the house.
Should any of these issues arise, contact local fireplace specialists or brick and stone masons to help you address concerns and ensure the safety of the fireplace.
These are the most important steps you should take as a prospective buyer of an old home, with an old fireplace, that you plan to make good use of!
If you're looking at purchasing an older home, a big safety and structural concern should be the chimneys and fireplaces. A professional should inspect the chimney and fireplace in any home at least once a year, more often if the fireplace is used frequently. Before purchasing an older or historic home, inspecting the old fireplace yourself is a good idea. You should also request a professional chimney and fireplace inspection to ensure there aren’t any major red flags that need to be taken care of.