Do home inspectors check fireplaces?

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Home inspectors are required to do a visual examination of a fireplace, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), along with the State of Florida and some other states. 

    Here’s how it is stated by ASHI: “The inspector shall inspect fuel-burning fireplaces, stoves, and fireplace inserts, fuel burning accessories installed in fireplaces, and chimneys and vent systems.  Also, the systems and components of the fireplace must also be described.

    ASHI also lists a number of exclusions:

12.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

     A. Inspect:
          1. interiors of vent systems, flues, and chimneys that are not readily accessible.
          2. fire screens and doors.
          3. seals and gaskets.
          4. automatic fuel feed devices.
          5. mantles and fireplace surrounds.
          6. combustion air components and to determine their adequacy.
          7. heat distribution assists (gravity fed and fan assisted).
          8. fuel-burning fireplaces and appliances located outside the inspected structures.

     B. determine draft characteristics.

     C. move fireplace inserts and stoves or firebox contents.

    The standards of InterNACHI are similar, but also mandate that the inspector note if smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are not installed in same room as fireplace. 

    Even if the requirements and exclusions are not stated directly in the home inspector’s contract agreement, one of the Standards of Practice mentioned above will be referenced as part of the contract agreement.

    While the Standards of Practice set minimums, a home inspector may choose to exceed them and report in more detail on a fireplace. Also, the inspection may be limited to less than what is outlined in the standards when agreed to by the homebuyer and specified in an inspection agreement. A four-point insurance inspection would be example of a limited inspection. 

    Click on any of the links below to read other articles about what is required to be included, or not, in a home inspection:

AFCI •• Air conditioner •• Ants •• Appliance recalls •• Appliance testing •• Attic •• Awnings •• Barns and ag blgs. •• Bathroom exhaust fan •• Bonding •• Carpet •• Ceiling fans •• Central vacuum •• Chimneys •• Chinese drywall •• Clothes dryer •• Dryer exhaust •• CO alarms •• Code violations •• Condemn a house •• Crawl space •• Detached carport •• Detached garage •• Dishwasher •• Docks •• Doors •• Electrical •• Electrical panel •• Electromagnetic radiation •• Fences •• Fireplaces  Furnace •• Garage door opener •• Garbage disposal •• Generator •• GFCIs •• Gutters •• Ice maker •• Inspect in the rain •• Insulation •• Insurance •• Interior Finishes •• Grading & drainage •• Lead paint •• Level of thoroughness •• Lift carpet •• Low voltage wiring •• Microwave •• Mold •• Move things •• Help negotiate •• Not allowed •• Outbuildings •• Paint •• Permits •• Pilot lights •• Plumbing •• Plumbing under slab •• Pools •• Questions won't answer •• Radon •• Range/cooktop •• Receptacle outlet •• Refrigerator •• Reinspection •• Remove panel cover •• Repairs •• Repair estimates •• Retaining walls •• Roaches •• Rodents •• Roof •• Screens •• Seawalls •• Septic loading dye test •• Septic tank •• Sewer lines •• Shower pan leak test •• Shutters •• Sinkholes •• Smoke alarms •• Solar panels •• Specify repairs •• Sprinklers •• Termites •• Toilets •• Trees •• Troubleshooting •• Wall air conditioners •• Walk roof •• Washing machine •• Water heater •• Water pressure •• Water shut-offs •• Main water shut-off •• Water softener •• Water treatment systems •• Well •• Windows •• Window air conditioners •• Window blinds •• Wiring 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Here’s links to a collection of some of our other blog posts about FIREPLACES AND CHIMNEYS:

 Is a gas log lighter dangerous?

What is the 3-2-10 rule for masonry chimneys? 

What causes black soot buildup on my gas fireplace logs?

• Why would an old, pre-1970s house have a fire place but no chimney on the roof? 

Why is creosote buildup in a chimney dangerous? 

Why does the house have a chimney but no fireplace?

Why is the chimney leaning away from the house? 

• How is a factory-built fireplace different from a regular fireplace?

• The fireplace doesn't have a chimney. Is that alright? 

   Visit our FIREPLACES AND CHIMNEYS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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