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  • Writer's picturemartin slon

Are Chimney Inspections Worth It?

Home inspection vs a chimney inspection - A home inspection is limited to the visible areas of a fireplace and chimney. A level 2 chimney inspection will inspect the visible exterior components of the chimney AND inspect the fireplace and flue interior from top to bottom using a specialized camera.

Most homes are sold with the chimney 'as is' - True, but an unsafe chimney is a hazard with potentially devastating consequences. Knowing the state of your chimney - even if its not a point of negotiation - is smart risk management. That is why I recommend all my clients should clean their chimney and have a level 2 chimney inspection performed before they use their fireplace for the first time.

What is likely wrong with the chimney? - The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) cites creosote build-up in chimneys as one of the top causes of house fires.

Mortar gaps or cracks in the clay liner (common in the older homes in our market) can allow heat from the flue to get transferred to the bricks and to the wood structure. Over time this heating causes the ignition point of the wood to drop and can, over a long period of time, eventually lead to a structure fire.

This is why the flue liner must be continuous and free of cracks, gaps, or other damage which would allow the escape of combustion products per both the NFPA and the NJ building code.

Conclusion - A chimney inspection costs around $450. Considering the probability and cost of an issue and the relatively low cost of an inspection, the risk-reward benefit is skewed in favor of a chimney inspection being considered along with the other specialist inspections, or planned for shortly after closing!

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