Chimney and Fireplace Inspection

Chimney inspections come in many forms and you should be aware that not all inspections are alike. At Amerispec®, we go to extreme measures to make sure that your new home is safe from any potential fire hazards. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), an educational organization located in Indianapolis, the installation of a flue liner has been recommended since the early part of this century, but now many codes mandate chimney liners for masonry chimneys.

Most masonry chimneys are built with clay liners that can deteriorate over time or can incur damage from weather, undetected chimney fires or foundation settling.

chimney cracksThis deterioration or damage can cause missing or cracked clay tiles that leave the chimney unsafe. The lack of flue tile can allow flue gases from a fire to penetrate the brick and mortar, reducing the life of the chimney and creating gaps in the mortar joints.

When these conditions exist, problems can occur, such as carbon monoxide seeping into the living structure of the home, or sparks from a fire that escape through the crack in a chimney wall into a flammable part of the house. Even prolonged exposure to the heat from flue gases leaking through cracked or broken clay tiles can pose significant threat to combustible materials near the chimney. Additionally, an unexpected chimney fire can spread through a breech in a damaged chimney liner scattering fire throughout the home.

AmeriSpec® utilizes state of the art chimney video inspection equipment, which is the most accurate method of determining whether defects exist in the flue lining. During this inspection, a camera is either lowered down or raised up through the flue. A monitor allows the inspector to view the condition of the internal walls of the flue liner and the entire inspection is taped utilizing a VCR camera. This is the only type of inspection that allows the inspector to view/find the exact problems and exact location of the problems.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), clay flue tiles within a chimney should be replaced if they are cracked, broken, or missing. The most efficient and cost-effective repair is relining of the flue by a certified chimney contractor, which can cost from $2000-$4000+ per flue.

AmeriSpec®recommends a chimney scan if you are purchasing a property with a masonry fireplace and/or chimney.