Do You Need a Chimney Inspection?

When scheduling a home inspection, an inspector will look at multiple elements of your home to determine if they are structurally sound. One of these you may not consider is a chimney inspection. It’s not surprising that it can be overlooked; while many home inspectors will look for signs it is falling apart or a potential leak, they don’t go much deeper. This is where a specialized chimney inspector comes in. But is one needed for your home? Here is the key information to consider.

Why You Need a Chimney Inspection

When you have a chimney in your home, you may not think about getting it inspected. However, there are multiple reasons that getting an inspection done can be beneficial. For starters, getting it cleaned and inspected prevents fires that can damage your home. Not cleaning the equipment in the fireplace is the leading cause of home heating fires. In addition, using your chimney results in the buildup of creosote. This residue is the collection of smoke, particles, and gases from fires burning in the chimney. The more the creosote builds up, the harder it is to remove. Finally, a chimney obstructed by materials such as sticks, leaves, or nests, prevents gas from escaping. This leads to fine particles that may enter your home and cause burning eyes, runny nose, and amplifies asthma and bronchitis.

What Is In an Inspection

Once you select a certified technician to inspect your chimney, they will first check its interior to look for potential damage. Using a camera, they examine the inside and take photos and videos to look for issues with the flue and gas lines. They also check the entire system, as smoke from your chimney can find its way to attics or basements. In addition, as the roof is connected to the flue and exterior brickwork, it is reviewed as well.

A quality chimney technician will also to determine if a structure fire occurred, which can impact the contract during the home buying and selling process. They also look for structural damage caused by previous fires. This may indicate the chimney is in need of repair or replacement. Other items an inspector review is if items are obstructing the chimney and if there is any water damage.

Proactive Maintenance Options

There are things you can do on a proactive level to keep your chimney or fireplace safe. First, make sure you read and understand instructions on your fireplace as well as specific elements. Also, use only well-seasoned, dry wood in a fireplace, and learn the best places to store wood when not used.

A chimney can be a major addition to your home, and attractive to potential buyers. By understanding how to have it inspected, you are able to keep it well-maintained and at its best performance during the colder months.

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Lead-Based Paint and Home Inspections

There are lots of things to consider when purchasing a home. One thing you may not think of is how the age of your home can impact its overall safety. If you have a home that was built before 1978, there is a chance it contains lead-based paint, which can lead to health concerns. While it stopped being sold to consumers that year, there could be traces of the paint still in your home. The good news is that while not all inspectors can check for this paint, there are some that can check to see if there is some left. Here is what to know about lead-based paint.

What Makes Lead-Based Paint Dangerous?

Even in lower amounts, lead can be the cause of multiple health problems. This is especially true of younger children. Symptoms of lead poisoning for younger people can include irritability, abdominal pain, and developmental difficulty. Other symptoms can appear in older adults as well. While lead paint was banned for use in 1978, it doesn’t mean that older homes don’t have it. An EPA study showed that 24% of homes built from 1960 to 1978 have lead paint in them.

How It’s Tested For

Lead-based paint can’t be identified purely by sight. However, there is a sign that can indicate that it exists. As lead paint deteriorates, it develops a pattern known as alligatoring, or looking like scales. This can be looked at on both the inside and outside of the home. This can give you an idea that lead paint is in your home, but an inspector can provide a true test. In instances where lead is suspected, an inspector uses an X-ray to go inside the paint layers through to the base wood of the wall.

Why You Should Test

If you think there is lead paint in your home, having a test done offers peace of mind. There are numerous reasons to have your home tested. The biggest is if you have family members that are most likely to be affected, such as young children. By having a test complete, you can schedule an abatement if enough of the paint is prevalent. In addition, if you plan on making renovations to your home, an inspection is helpful. Construction and repairs can disturb lead paint and cause dust that could include lead elements.

Testing your home for lead-based paint offers a number of advantages. While the number of homes that have it continues to drop, it is still beneficial for people looking to purchase an older home.

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