American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
2767 Dewey Avenue
Rochester, NY 14616
Office: 585-349-3900
Fax: 585-349-3834
www.InspectNY.com

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Chimneys and Fireplaces

Fallen Chimney

A wood burning fireplace can be a wonderful accessory to any house. If properly cared for, chimneys and fireplaces can have a long serviceable life. If not, a chimney can become very expensive to repair or rebuild. Most of the time it can be very difficult to be able to see problems. Not all chimneys look like this one.

Tree In Chimney

This chimney has clear indications that problems exist. Other times severe problems are not as obvious, and may contain problems with the chimney liner, inside the chimney. Those can render a chimney and fireplace useless and be the most costly to repair. It usually costs between $55.00 and $70.00 per foot to have a wood burning fireplace chimney relined.

CHIMNEY FIRES

Fireplaces are designed to safely contain wood burning fires also while providing heat for homes. Chimneys that serve the fireplaces have the job of expelling smoke and other byproducts of combustion given off from wood burning fires. The chimney is relatively cooler then the smoke rising thus causing condensation. The result of this condensation is called creosote. Creosote is the build up that forms on the inside of the chimney. It is typically black in color and can either be tar-like and sticky or crusty and flaky. Which ever form it takes, it is always combustible. When the creosote buildup becomes heavy, the likelihood of a chimney fire is almost certain.

Active Chimney Fire

When a chimney fire starts it can be very destructive. The temperature of the chimney heats up too hot too quickly resulting in the liner cracking and possibly the building catching fire. The way to avoid heavy creosote buildup is to burn the proper types of wood. For example using seasoned hardwoods instead of softwoods, and minimizing the amount of paper being burnt in the fire. Also cleaning the chimney with a chimney sweep as often as necessary.

When Buying a house with a wood burning fireplace, take every precaution to ensure your families safety. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected before you use it.

 


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Gunther Home Inspections, Inc.
Voice 585-349-3900 - Fax 585-349-3834
2767 Dewey Avenue - Rochester, NY 14616
www.InspectNY.com

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