Everything You Need To Know About Chimneys And Fireplaces
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What Homebuyers Need to Know About Chimneys

Maybe you’ve always wanted a home with a wood-burning fireplace. They’re beautiful, atmospheric, cozy, and nostalgic. And if you’ve found that dream home, there are a few things you need to know about chimneys before signing on the dotted line to prevent potential headaches and expenses down the line. Here’s what you need to know about chimneys.

chimney cleanings, inspections, and repairs in Cheektowaga NYChimney Types

Chimneys come in various types, including masonry, metal, and prefabricated. Each type has its pros and cons regarding durability, maintenance, and cost. Understanding which type you’re looking at will let you know what to expect for long-term upkeep.


Before purchasing your dream home, it’s crucial to have the chimney and fireplace or stove inspected by a certified professional. They can assess its structural integrity, cleanliness, and how well it meets current regulations and standards. A comprehensive inspection can reveal issues like blockages, cracks, or poor ventilation, which not only affect performance but could also put you at risk of a fire.

Maintenance Requirements

Chimneys require regular maintenance to ensure they operate safely and efficiently. Ask the current homeowner about their maintenance routine and when the chimney was last cleared, cleaned, and inspected. Neglected chimneys pose fire and safety hazards and can lead to costly repairs if there’s structural damage.

Signs of Damage

Speaking of damage, look for signs inside and outside the chimney. Cracked mortar, loose bricks, or a leaning chimney require immediate attention. Also, look for damper rust or a strong odor of creosote, which suggests issues with the ventilation system.

Compliance With Building Codes

Chimneys must comply with local building codes and regulations to ensure safety. Verify that the chimney meets the current standards, especially if it’s undergone modifications or additions. Non-compliance could result in fines or the need for costly renovations.

Caps & Dampers

Chimney caps and dampers are crucial in preventing debris, animals, and water from entering the chimney. Check that these components are present, intact, and functioning correctly. Damaged or missing caps and dampers can lead to blockages and water damage.

Energy Efficiency

A correctly functioning chimney contributes to the overall energy efficiency of the home. Inspect the chimney for signs of heat loss, such as gaps or cracks in the flue liner. Upgrading to a more efficient chimney system, such as a sealed combustion fireplace, can reduce energy costs and improve heating performance.

Fireplace Type

Consider the type of fireplace the chimney serves, whether wood-burning or gas. Each type has different maintenance requirements and safety considerations. Wood-burning fireplaces, for example, require regular cleaning to prevent creosote buildup, while gas fireplaces need annual inspections to ensure proper ventilation.

Insurance Coverage

Check with your insurance provider to ensure the home’s chimney is covered under your policy. Some insurance companies may require proof of regular maintenance and inspections to maintain coverage. Most policies don’t cover damage from normal wear and tear or age, but there are always exceptions.

chimney maintenance in Williamsville, NYFuture Renovations

Finally, if you plan to renovate or upgrade the home in the future, consider how the chimney will be included in the plans. Certain renovations, such as adding a fireplace insert or converting to a different fuel type, may require chimney modifications.

We’ll Inspect Your Chimney

If you’re looking at that dream home with a cozy fireplace and chimney, call Felgemacher Fireplace Shop for a professional inspection. We have over 60 years of experience in the chimney industry and proudly serve residents in Rochester, NY, Buffalo, NY, Williamsville, NY, and the surrounding areas.

We’re the locally owned and operated one-stop-shop for all things chimney and fireplace-related.

Call 716-482-1820 to schedule an appointment.