Archive for the ‘Fireplaces’ Category

During this home inspection we noticed a few water stains on the 1st floor, then directly above on the 2nd floor and yes, then on the 3rd floor which turned out to be directly below the chimney.

This is a water front property and it was impossible to get a ladder up 4 stories and our drone is not flying. This is what we found in the attic.


F.Y.I. Using silicone in the attic to stop water leaks does not work! I am not sure what this handyman was thinking.


With the cold winter Holidays here, brings a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire and accidents.



You probably remember the movie “Christmas Vacation” Every home inspector and firefighter will tell you not to let your lights, plugs and outlets look like theirs did!

Please be safe

Merry Christmas




We found these problems with this chimney during a recent home inspection.

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The base flashing had been removed and someone painted on roofing cement in an ill attempt to stop water leaks. From the ground these repairs looked a little off, but nothing very alarming. My home inspector antennae went up just enough to make sure I got a closer look. These repairs have been leaking for sometime and there is an unknown amount of wood rot surrounding the chimney in the attic.


The chimney cap mortar has completely disintegrated and was falling off the chimney while we were there. Rain had been getting inside and causing even more problems. Upon closer examination, we found a crack at the outside of the chimney which carried through to the clay liner inside. This is certainly a fire and safety hazard!

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The buyers are certainly glad we climbed the roof and found these dangerous and very costly problems during our home inspection.



Chimney cap

Here in Pensacola, FL and the Gulf Shores, Al area many of the homes we inspect have prefabricated fireplaces and chimney units. It is very common after a short period of time to find them sagging and rust forming on the top. It doesn’t take long for that rust to work it’s way through and next thing you know there are holes allowing water to enter into the home.

A few repair people have had some success making repairs to prolong replacement. A few of those repairs even looked pretty good. It may seem rather petty but…The alternative is to spend $4-600 and have a new cap put on.

Chimney cap

Chimney cap

Most gas-burning fixtures, whether furnaces, water heaters, or fireplaces, vent combustion exhaust to the exterior. “Unvented” fireplaces vent exhaust to the interior of the building. Fortunately, there have been very few reported problems with these

fixtures. They are at odds with the common sense of gas safety, and their safety should not be taken for granted.

If gas combustion is incomplete for any reason, soot and carbon monoxide are

produced. Carbon monoxide, commonly recognized as an odorless, lethal gas, causes no harm when vented to the exterior of the dwelling. When vented into a home, it can cause debilitating sickness or death. For this reason, unvented gas log fireplaces are specially designed to maximize gas combustion. They are also equipped with carbon monoxide sensors, an

oxygen depletion sensor, and a complex system of safety shutoff devices. As long as these safety features function perfectly, unvented gas fireplaces can operate without

posing a threat to the health and safety of occupants. These are all way beyond the inspection capabilities of a home inspector.

It is possible for well-designed backup systems to fail, no matter how carefully manufactured. Nothing in the realm of human invention is 100% safe. The risks inherent in unvented gas fireplaces may be small, but are not nonexistent.

Those who have unvented gas fireplaces in their homes should exercise caution in the following ways:

Install carbon monoxide detectors as directed by the manufacturer.

Never leave the gas logs burning while you sleep.

Keep the fireplace doors open when the fixture is in use.

Keep a window slightly open when the gas logs are burning.

Follow all the manufacturer’s installation instructions and safety precautions.

Problem such as these do not commonly occur, but again, it should not be assumed that unvented gas log systems are unconditionally safe.