How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Why does the house have a chimney but no fireplace?
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
There are several reasons why a house could have a chimney without having a fireplace. Here’s a few that we have encountered:
- Early furnaces had a small, brick utility chimney, often square. It has been abandoned and the bottom part covered over in the walls of the home. Here’s an example of one below.
- The original brick utility chimney has been reused as the last part of the flue assembly for a newer gas furnace. If you look in the furnace closet, you will see the metal flue from the furnace entering the side of the brick chimney.
- An original fireplace has been abandoned and firebox has been filled in. Sometimes the mantel/surround remains as a decorative feature in the home, or all interior evidence of the fireplace has been removed. Occasionally, we find the remains of a fireplace in a home’s attic. The bottom part has been walled-in and the top part has been demolished to just below the roof line, to eliminate a roof penetration that’s no longer necessary. The bricks in the attic are a souvenir of the home’s history.
In all of the situations where the chimney still penetrates the roof, the chimney penetration still needs to be adequately flashed and waterproofed. Also, the rain-cap and spark-arresting screen should still be in place and in good condition. The screen is necessary on even an abandoned chimney, to keep bats and birds from roosting in the chimney.
Also, see our blog post The fireplace doesn't have a chimney. Is that alright?
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about FIREPLACES AND CHIMNEYS:
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