How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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Why would an old, pre-1970s house have a fire place but no chimney on the roof?
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Old brick chimneys that are in poor condition sometimes get abandoned and the brick removed down to below the roof sheathing in the attic when the house is reroofed, like in the photo above. The mantel and firebox may still be in place down below, but unusable, or it might have been converted by a remodeler to an unvented fireplace. For information about unvented fireplaces, see our blog post The fireplace doesn't have a chimney. Is that alright? If the fireplace has a fern or other decorative display, do not light a wood fire in it until you confirm that the fireplace is vented to the exterior.
Also, the remains of a small chimney is sometimes found in the attic of an older house which was a utility chimney that vented an ancient furnace, and the base is likely entombed in wall framing and not visible. In this case, there never was a fireplace in the home.
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