A fireplace or stove can add a lot to a home, but there are some things you should know before you buy a home with a chimney. Chimneys are responsible for making sure the smoke from your stove or fireplace exits your home safely. That is why you should have the chimney on the house you are considering to by, professionally inspected by a chimney services business. In addition, keeping your chimney clean will ensure it’s functioning correctly. You also need to use your chimney correctly to prevent fire hazards and promote good indoor air quality. If you’re considering buying a home with a chimney, here are five things you should know first.
1. Pre-Purchase Inspection
When you own a home with a chimney, you’ll need to have it inspected regularly to avoid problems. However, you should start by requesting a chimney inspection to a professional company like ours before you consider buying a house with a chimney. Chimneys need to be repaired and rebuilt occasionally, so make sure you have a professional look for any problems before you buy. Some of the things you’ll want to look for during a chimney inspection include:
- Creosote build-up
- Cracks and other structural damage
- Obstructions in the chimney
- Water damage
- Signs of previous fires
Make sure you’re hiring a CSIA certified chimney professional to perform your chimney inspection before buying a home. An expert can give you insight into the condition of the chimney, so you can decide if you need to have the seller make repairs before you buy a home.
2. Cleaning and Maintenance
While having your chimney inspected once a year is essential for preventing problems, you also need to keep up with chimney cleaning and maintenance if you want to avoid fires and maximize efficiency. According to the CSIA, the national fire protection association standard 211 says “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” Every time you use your chimney, creosote and soot build-up on the inside of the chimney. Over time, this creosote can build up to a point where it creates a fire hazard and reduces your chimney’s ability to vent smoke out of the house.
When you buy a home with a chimney, you’re committing to investing in routine maintenance. Thankfully, you can count on the CSIA certified chimney expert who inspected your chimney to help you keep it clean and working correctly.
3. Water Damage
Most of the time, you don’t have to worry about experts missing anything during a chimney inspection. A thorough inspection can reveal damage to the most important parts of your chimney, but it’s important to do a quick inspection yourself to ensure that the technician did not miss anything. Believe it or not, water damage is one of the biggest things you have to worry about with your chimney, especially if you live in a wet climate.
To check for water damage, simply look around the fireplace’s edges to see if there are any water spots or spots where water may enter the home. You may notice small yellow spots on the ceiling or around your fireplace. If there are signs of water damage, figure out if the leak was repaired and have it fixed if it wasn’t. Water damage from a chimney leak can cause thousands in water damage, so you don’t want to move into a home with a leaking chimney. If the chimney leak has yet to be repaired, you should contact a professional chimney repair company. That way, you can rest assure that the problem will be fixed.
4. Types of Fireplaces
Just because a home has a chimney doesn’t mean it has a wood-burning fireplace. There are other types of fireplaces as well, including gas and electric fireplaces. If you want the authentic experience of burning real wood in your fireplace, make sure you buy a home with a wood-burning fireplace. However, it’s important to note that there are upsides to all three types of fireplaces.
Wood-burning: When most people think of a fireplace, they think of a wood-burning fireplace or stove. These are simple devices where you can open a screen or door to add logs to the fire. If you want the authentic fireplace experience, a wood-burning fireplace is an excellent way to go. Depending on firewood prices, however, wood-burning fireplaces can cost a lot to operate.
Gas: Gas fireplaces are some of the best in terms of efficiency, but that efficiency comes at a price. While mock flames in gas fireplaces have significantly improved over the years, they still don’t provide the same ambiance as a wood-burning fireplace. Plus, some gas fireplaces require a lot of maintenance which can be expensive.
Electric: If you want a combination of simplicity, affordability, and efficiency, electric fireplaces are always a good option. Electric fireplaces have realistic-looking mock flames like gas fireplaces, but they’re easier to maintain and generally more affordable. Unfortunately, electric fireplaces simply don’t put out as much heat as a wood-burning unit.
Finally, you should consider the cost of owning a home with a fireplace. Whether you have a wood-burning, gas, or electric fireplace, you’ll need to pay for the cost of fuel. Some fuel sources are cheaper and more efficient than others, so that’s something to consider. You’ll also need to pay for routine inspections and maintenance by a professional. And, of course, you have to consider potential repair costs if something goes wrong.
The truth is, heating your home with any type of fireplace is typically more expensive than using central heating. In comparison, even though fireplaces are a reliable source of heat, most people like fireplaces for the charming aesthetic they provide.
While operating a fireplace is typically more expensive, a fireplace is an attractive selling point if you decide to sell your home in the future.
Get Help from the Pros
A chimney can add a lot of value and charm to a home, but that doesn’t mean there are no downsides to having a chimney in your home. If you’re considering buying a home with a chimney, it’s crucial to understand proper chimney maintenance, usage, and fire safety. When you need a professional to inspect, clean, or repair your chimney, just give us a call and we’ll send a CSIA certified expert your way.