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I inspected a home with a metal fireplace insert and masonery chimney. The damper was stuck open and did not move. The question I have is looking up through the fireplace I could see about 18 inches of brickwork before the flue liner was inserted Should this have had some type of transition to the flue liner other than the brick.[:-party]

thanks Willie

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You were probably seeing where the brick is korbeled to meet the flue. Most of those I see are raw brickwork. It's pretty rare that I see them lined with mud. I wouldn't report it unless I could physically see deterioration of the mortared joints or some type of severe cracking that's associated with something else like an earthquake. Most of the time you can't see anything past the accumulated soot and creosote in a throat, so I think it's best to simpy recommend that a CSIA-certified sweep inspect, clean and then repair if necessary the entire flue, throat and firebox.

You can't go wrong with that recommendation if you cite NFPA's recommendation that all fireplace chimneys be inspected, cleaned and repaired by a competent sweep at resale. That takes the monkey off our back and puts it on the sweep.

My question to you. How in the world did you see the throat and flue if that fireplace has a metal insert installed in it? You didn't remove it, did you? If so, you might want to re-think that idea. There's no requirement in any standard to remove it and the risk of liability might outweigh the benefits to you, if nothing useful can be gained by doing so.

Dampers are stuck open over those things most of the time or they are completely removed around here. When I find a stove insert, I inspect the insert only - not the firebox of the masonry chimney behind it - because I'm inspecting the system that's currently being used. Any any inspection of a damper is limited to that used on the stove insert - not the masonry flue.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I may have misrepresented the fireplace it may not be a true insert but a fireplace liner and I was able to see around the damper and see the brickwork. And no I did not take it apart; the house had enough concerns being an early 70's house that I had plenty of other areas to look at. Thanks again for the reminder of having the fireplace, chimney inspected by a Certified Sweeep

Thanks again willie

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I'm pretty sure there should be a sealer plate at the throat of the fireplace. They usually are removable so they can be cleaned. Maybe that one was never put back in or it had fallen out and never re-installed.

Check this link; it has a pretty good illustration of how an insert should be installed:

http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/cpsumins.htm

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  • 1 year later...

"Most of the time you can't see anything past the accumulated soot and creosote in a throat, so I think it's best to simpy recommend that a CSIA-certified sweep inspect, clean and then repair if necessary the entire flue, throat and firebox.

You can't go wrong with that recommendation if you cite NFPA's recommendation that all fireplace chimneys be inspected, cleaned and repaired by a competent sweep at resale. That takes the monkey off our back and puts it on the sweep."

This is a bit narcissistic. CSIA certification is no guarantee of the competency or ethics of the inspector. You can have a Certified Chimney Sweep who is a bumbling idiot and you can have uncertified sweeps who are top notch. If you refer to an incompetent contractor and things go wrong, you can be liable for a "negligent referral". Just do your homework. CSIA certication requires only passing a test--no hands-on instruction required.

Anytime you don't perform a Level II inspection, you are leaving yourself open. Don't think your Assn. Stds. of Practice are Superman's cape and will protect you.

HTH,

Hearthman

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Yup. Welcome to the board Bob.

I don't think anyone would disagree with you. A "certification" doesn't guarantee quality, competency and integrity.

Its been discussed countless times on this board.

In the case of recommending sweeps, I always recommend Level II myself. Inspecting a chimney and flue system to the degree a Level II provides is just way too much for the typical home inspection, regardless of anyone's Association or SOP's.

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