Friday, September 3, 2010

Nashville Home Inspection - Chimney Cap Issues

Nashville Home Inspection - Chimney Cap Issues

Chimney Caps are sometimes difficult to see from the ground. But from rooftop, like we see in a Nashville area home inspection, they are easier to see and a lot can be learned from that view. Look at the pic below of the chimney cap. What's wrong with this picture?

HINT: Where is the rain water going to go?

The picture below is from the same house, different chimney. A modified damper has been installed but the concrete chimney cap has broken and some parts have departed.

The pic below is a closeup of the chimney cap above. See how the concrete is very loose. Water from rain will easily flow by and down inside the chimney.

In both situations the water will run down inside the chimney and damage the fireplace components with rust and weaken the mortar for the brick fireplace. The mortar will then fall out, leaving gaps through the brick hearth to the wood structure behind the hearth walls. Heat, flame, ashes, and smoke then has a direct gap to follow outside of the hearth. This is called a secondary chimney and is a fire hazard.

So not only is a missing or broken chimney cap a problem for water intrusion, these situations can also damage the fireplace hearth and create a fire hazard. This needs repair before fires are attempted in this fireplace.

Thank you,

Richard Acree

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