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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

Get a professional chimney inspection before buying or selling a home

So, you tidy up your house and throw out the broken furniture you always hated anyway. You’re getting ready to sell your house and buy another. The professional real estate agent says you need an inspection to protect both seller and buyer from potential risks and liabilities. You enlist the services of an inspector who assesses the condition of the structure, the basement, the roof, the driveway. So far so good. But when it comes to the chimney the inspector sheepishly admits his or her ignorance regarding chimney matters. What should you do?

Old Smokey’s has seen this sort of predicament. Actually, let us first say you should be grateful when an inspector admits his or her shortcomings when it comes to chimney knowledge. That’s better than Inspector Pretender, who may miss potential problems that might turn out to be serious.

Get a professional chimney inspection before buying or selling a home - Fort Wayne IN - Old SmokeysQuite simply, a professional chimney inspection is in everybody’s best interests. It makes as much sense as consulting a structural engineer if the house’s foundation showed troubling evidence of instability. Or, to make another analogy, it’s like having an HVAC professional or licensed electrician review any issues regarding their respective disciplines. Employing a specialty professional is good common sense.

A Level 2 inspection is typically required upon the transfer or sale of a home. For that, we recommend you employ one of Old Smokey’s Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps. We are adept at detecting chimney issues or problems that a home inspector might miss.

Here’s a closer look at what a Level 2 chimney inspection entails. According to the CSIA, “A Level 2 inspection is a more in-depth inspection than a Level 1 inspection…. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl spaces and basements. It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations.”

The CSIA goes on to note, “A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required by a Level 2 inspection.”

However it is defined, a chimney inspection done by an Old Smokey’s trained professional  is a wise investment — if not a necessity. It offers a good opportunity for a solid return on your investment. Good information is a great starting point to assist you in your real estate buying or selling decision making.

Depend on experienced and smart professionals. We’ve been at it for more than 30 years now, building on our enviable reputation. Book an appointment by calling 260-424-0009 or schedule your chimney inspection online. Let Old Smokey’s help you keep your real estate transaction real.

What do chimney odors indicate?

Have you ever heard the expression “canary in the coal mine”? It comes from the practice of coal miners taking a canary into a coal mine as an early-detection warning sign of dangerous gases. If the canary died, it was a sign of danger to coal miners. As for the rest of us not in the coal mines, it is said that women and children have a keener sense of detecting odors than men do. If that’s the case and a woman or child says your chimney smells, it is wise to pay attention.

What do chimney odors indicate - Fort Wayne IN - Old SmokeysIf you do have chimney odors, how do you solve problems related to them? Old Smokey’s has experience and expertise to share on this nettlesome issue. First, let us note that chimney and fireplace odors are related; they are part of the same contiguous system. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish fireplace odors from chimney odors. Therefore, it is well worth dissecting the problem to discern what type of odor you are experiencing and what is causing it.

It pays to do a little detective work to determine the type of odor your chimney is giving off. Old Smokey’s has experienced professionals who can help you to sort this out. If your chimney smells like tar or asphalt, it’s probably coming from a buildup of creosote on your chimney walls. A musty odor likely indicates some sort of water intrusion. And odors that smell like decomposing materials might be signs of rotting leaves, damp soot or even animal droppings or dead creatures.

As for probably the most common odor cause, creosote buildup, the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA , notes that creosote is a “natural byproduct of woodburning. The odor is usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high and the air conditioner is turned on. A good sweeping will help but usually won’t solve the problem completely. There are commercial chimney deodorants that work pretty well, and many people have good results with baking soda or even kitty litter set in the fireplace. The real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems in the house. Some make-up air should be introduced somewhere else in the house.”

What about musty odors caused by water intrusion? If this is your problem, you’ll likely need to have a chimney cap or top-mounted damper installed to keep rainwater and moisture out.

Instead of dealing with theoretical causes of your odor problem, or its solution, why not have Old Smokey’s take a look? Let us help you end the guessing game. We’ll give you a professional diagnosis and find the real-life cause. Then we’ll offer options to fix the problem based on our vast and successful experience.

We invite you to visit us at our offices in Ashley, Indiana or to schedule an appointment by calling 260-424-0009. You can also book an appointment online. Let Old Smokey’s be the canary in your chimney — and let us go a step further by solving any chimney odor problems.

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