Most people seem to think their fireplaces are safe, even though they have not had them cleaned or inspected for years, or even decades. This may not be the case. Over 15,000 home fires a year in the U.S. are attributed to fireplaces and chimneys.
I did a random survey of properties where we cleaned or inspected the chimney and fireplace during a 5 day period last October.
- 7 if 23 properties inspected were in good condition and only needed cleaning.
- 7 of the 23 properties had cracks in the flue that were a fire hazard and which required the chimney to be relined.
- 9 of the properties had other issues such as cracks between bricks that needed repair, cracks in the chimney crown, missing caps/spark arrestors, or faulty control modules on a gas fireplace.
A home belonging to celebrity cook Rachael Ray was reportedly on fire in upstate New York. Images showed the flames shooting through the roof of the home.
Fire crews were battling flames at the home in Lake Luzerne, N.Y., as the Warren County Sheriff’s Office told ABC10 the residence belonged to the television personality.
Two weeks after a devastating fire nearly gutted Rachael Ray’s home, officials finally have released a cause. The Aug. 9 blaze at her manse began inside a fireplace chimney, state officials revealed on Friday.
Here is a quote from a property inspection report done by a property inspection company last week on a home in Lake Forest:
“Pre-cast concrete chimneys were built in factories and then trucked to a site and erected, as distinct from masonry chimneys that are built on site with individual bricks and mortar. In this respect, pre-cast chimneys are unique. However, like all masonry chimneys, they are vulnerable to seismic activity, but unlike masonry chimneys they are also subject to cracks that are induced by the interaction of moisture and a chemical additive that causes the reinforcing steel within the chimney to expand and crack the chimney walls. Such cracks can be small, but they are nonetheless subject to stringent repair methods. However, if any crack penetrates the chimney wall it may be difficult to repair the chimney without costly repairs or replacement or possibly relining the chimney. For this reason, we recommend that all pre-cast chimneys be further inspected/video scanned or certified by a specialist before close of escrow.”
It’s recommended that chimney’s are inspected every year. Almost everyone waits until the fall, so it’s difficult for the chimney sweep to service everyone well.
It really makes a lot more sense to do them at the end of the burning season in the event there are any repairs that need to be made before the unit may be put back into operation.
The last thing you want to hear the week before the big holiday party is that there are repairs needed to your fireplace before you can use it.
When choosing a home to purchase, today’s home buyers have many important decisions to make. When any home being considered has a fireplace, wood stove, or flue, insisting on a thorough inspection of these features is critical, especially when buyers intend to use these features as a supplemental or emergency heat source. If your are considering the purchase of a home with a fireplace, wood stove, or flue, here are three excellent reasons to get them professionally inspected by a certified inspector first.
1. Fire Safety
Because these features deal with heat and open flames, fire safety is the most important reason to insist upon a thorough inspection. Flues for wood stoves and fireplaces often have buildups of a substance called creosote.
Highly flammable, creosote results when there has been an incomplete combustion of the wood used to make a fire, and is a leading cause of chimney and flue fires. This can happen when the firewood has not been correctly seasoned before use, or when the fire has not received the proper amount of oxygen to allow it to burn hot enough to prevent creosote from forming. Read more
Here is one of our most recent Fire On Ice Fireplace installations.
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