Inspectors are pretty good about letting prospective homeowners know that they cannot really see much by flashlight. They see droppings that suggest critters in the attic, but typically do not know where to look to find out which way they are entering. Also, they are not going to have the requisite knowledge or tools to check out a home’s chimney.
They are not chimney sweeps or builders, after all. They are home inspectors, doing a thorough inspection of everything they can see and access. Someone else will need to get a closer look to see how serious – or not – that situation is. You will need to call a chimney sweep if you rightly want the fireplace system thoroughly checked, because that is not the expertise of a home inspector.
Hidden Problems Are Hidden Costs
Worthy of a separate inspection, chimneys and fireplaces that are failing or faulty can be a huge hidden expense in the home you are considering. If you rely on a partial inspection of the fireplace system, you may buy the house and end up doing everything by flashlight. Any number of things could be hidden in the darkness of the chimney, whether by accident or intent.
Savvy thrifty sellers may have cleaned visible areas and left the upper flue largely untouched along with their conscience. They may have had it thoroughly cleaned after its last use and innocently forgotten about possible water damage. Too risky to make a matter of trust in strangers and circumstance, the chimney needs to be properly inspected before you buy the house.
Is Your Home Inspector A Moonlighting Chimney Sweep?
Unless your home inspector is also a chimney sweep, you cannot expect them to do that job. A good home inspector may catch the tiny cracks in the mortar of the chimney crown or cap and mention them to you. They will not, however, be able to check to see to what extent water has penetrated or damaged the fireplace system. That, along with spotting creosote that they are ill-equipped to look for in hidden places, is a job for a certified chimney sweep. Contact us in Asheville and Hendersonville NC for more information before you finalize a home purchase.