Chimneys need to be inspected thoroughly for any kind of serious damages by a professional home inspector.
Chimneys can collapse due to many reasons. Wind, earthquakes and so forth can weaken the chimneys. Weak chimneys can collapse through the attic and into the living room causing injuries to occupants in the home. It is therefore quite essential to inspect the chimneys for signs of weakness periodically.
Some External Chimney Problems
Although most people clean the interior surfaces of the chimneys, the external surfaces are often neglected which can cause serious problems. It is very pertinent to inspect the external chimneys for the following problems:
- Damages to the chimney caused due to falling of the trees or branches.
- Loose mortar between the stones or bricks which crumble when poked with a sharp object.
- Insufficient support offered to the chimneys, especially the use of steel straps.
- Any type of gap or separation from the building, titling which is quite visible. It is crucial to monitor the gap of the chimney from the building to prevent accidents and damages.
- Poor quality construction of the chimneys and deterioration caused due to frost and other climatic vagaries.
A thorough home inspection can be conducted periodically to avoid accidents and chimney collapse.
Some Additional Precautions
However, additional precautions can be taken to strengthen the structures of the chimneys at homes.
The existing weak areas of the external chimneys can be repaired with professional assistance. Plywoods can be used to cover the roofs of the homes near the chimneys so that it acts as a barrier. It is also important never to stay near the chimneys during earthquakes and other calamities to avoid accidents. It is also wise to move parking areas and patios from chimneys which are damaged.
If the existing chimney is damaged beyond repair, it is essential to replace it with a new chimney which is made of a stronger metal. These chimneys are known to sustain damage as it is quite sturdy.
External chimneys can also face several other issues especially after an earthquake. It is quite dangerous to use fireplaces if the chimneys are leaning as smoke and sparks can enter the living room spaces causing choking hazards to inmates. Fireplaces should be inspected after an earthquake, before using it.
Chimneys should be inspected by the home inspection department to prevent costly and deadly collapses. Although commercial chimney collapses are quite rare, there are incidents where hundreds of workers were injured.