Carpet at fireplace (C) Daniel Friedman Woodburning Fireplace Defects List & Home Inspection Education
     

  • DEFECTS LIST - FIREPLACES
    • Lists of important fireplace inspection defects for residential buildings
    • What does a home inspector need to know about wood-burning fireplaces? Home inspection training and education curriculum recommendations for wood-burning fireplace inspections
  • BUILDING DEFECTS LISTS - separate article
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about home & building inspection courses, standards, & defect checklists for fireplace inspections
  • REFERENCES

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This article lists significant wood-burning fireplace defects, definitions, and home inspection education topics. This article series, beginning at BUILDING DEFECTS LISTS, provides lists of common building defects and basic defect knowledge that also outline recommended curriculum content for home inspector education. The building defects and inspection points listed in these articles also guide homeowners and home buyers to building areas that merit careful attention and often point areas of safety concern or important maintenance and repair tasks.

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Home Inspection Education Curriculum - Fireplaces

Fireplace mantel collapse (C) Daniel Friedman4.5   Fireplaces And Other Wood Burning Appliances

4.5.1 Knowledge Base for Fireplace and Wood Burning Appliances


1.    Describe the function of wood fired furnaces and boilers, wood stoves, and wood burning fireplaces.

2.    List five factors that help produce a good wood fire. (nice to know, but not necessary)

3.    Describe the materials and components of wood burning furnaces and boilers, wood stoves and wood burning fireplaces, highlighting the differences among the types.

4.    Describe the features of  adequate installation and repair technique for each system.

5.    Define the following terms: creosote, ash, soot, efficiency, manual ignition, manual stoking, solid fuel, fireplace insert, damper, space heater, radiant heater, combustion air, steady state efficiency.6.    Describe wood furnace components including: cabinet, combustion chamber (firebox), combustion air control, heat exchanger, vent connector, chimney, operating and safety controls, blower or house air fan, filter, for house air, duct system with registers and grills, dual fuel furnace, add-on furnace.

7.    Define the following wood stove terms: airtight stove, convective (circulating) stove, advanced combustion stove, catalytic combuster . listed wood stove, unlisted wood stove, pellet stove.

8.    Define the following fireplace terms: factory built (0 clearance), fireplace, masonry fireplace, masonry fireplace with steel firebox, listed or certified, pyrolysis, hearth, hearth extension, inner spark strip, fire brick, damper, lintel, ash dump, ashpit, ashpit clean out door, smoke shelf, throat, smoke shelf, smoke chamber, fireplace breast, mantel, mantel shelf, outdoor combustion air supply, heat circulator, gas ignitor.

9.    Identify the codes or standards that apply to wood burning furnaces and boilers, stoves and fireplaces.


4.5.2 Inspection Skills for Fireplace and Wood Burning Appliances

1.    Describe the inspection procedure for each of wood burning furnace and boiler, stove and fireplace.

2.    Identify the common defects listed on the next page.

3.    Describe the implication of each defect.

4.    Identify safety features for the inspector and occupant of the home (fire, gas explosion, products of combustion poisoning the occupants, injury due to moving parts).

2. Communicate findings to client verbally and in writing, recommending corrective action where needed.

WOOD BURNING FIREPLACE Defect List

Fireplace FOOTING Defects & FOUNDATION Defects  

      • Cracked

      • Deteriorating concrete, masonry or mortar  

      • Heaved

      • Leakage

      • Settled

Fireplace Damper Defect List

    • Frame loose

    • Damper or frame rusted

    • Inoperative

    • Missing

    • Undersized

    • Obstructed

    • Too low

Fireplace THROAT, SMOKE SHELf & SMOKE CHAMBER Defect List

     • Too small

     • Debris

     • Excess slope

     • Missing

     • Rust (metal firebox)

     • Uneven slope

     • Walls not smooth

Fireplace HEARTH Defect List  

      • Evidence of overheating

      • Gaps or cracks 

      • Inappropriate material

      • Settled

      • Too thin

      • Too small

      • Wood forms not removed

      • Settled (gap at wall)

Fireplace Face or Breast Defects

      • Combustible clearances

      • Cracked

      • Evidence of overheating

      • Loose

      • Settled (gap at wall)   

Fireplace FIREBOX Defects      

      • Cracked masonry or refractory     

      • Designed for coal

      • Deteriorated, missing or loose masonry or mortar

      • Draft suspect

      • Inappropriate materials

      • Lintels rusted, sagging or loose   

      • Rust out, burn out, buckled or cracked metal firebox

      • Too shallow

      • Too thick

Fireplace Glass Door Defect List

      • Cracked or broken glass

      • Frame warped

      • Inappropriate installation

      • Frame rust

      • Inoperative

Fireplace ASHPIT Defects

      • Ash dump missing

      • Cleanout door too close to combustibles

      • Cleanout door missing

      • Floor below cleanout door

      • Wood forms not removed

Fireplace Heat Circulators - Heatilators

      • Obstructed intakes or outlets

      • Rusted out steel ducts/boxes - air leaks, loss of control, fire hazards, smoke contamination

Fireplace OUTDOOR COMBUSTION AIR SYSTEM Defect List

      • Fan inoperative

      • Damper stuck

      • Damper missing

      • Disconnected

      • Hood and screen at firebox missing, damaged or loose

      • Inadequate combustible clearance

      • Inappropriate material

      • Intake not weathertight

      • Intake not screened

      • Intake poor location

      • Rust

      • Uninsulated

      • Inadequate seal at firebox wall or floor

      • Inadequate combustible clearance

      • Pipe obstructed

Fireplace Gas Igniter System Defects

      • Gas leak

      • Missing or improperly located gas shutoff valve

      • Inadequate combustible clearance

Readers should see WOOD Burning Heaters Fireplaces Stoves for our complete list of articles on this topic. Also see HOME & BUILDING INSPECTORS & INSPECTION METHODS. Use the Search Box at the top or bottom of these pages to find in-depth information about building, energy savings, and indoor environment inspection, diagnosis and repair at this website. Watch out: these inspection lists do not list all possible defects for the systems discussed, and not all home or building inspectors will examine all of the items listed here. CONTACT us to suggest corrections or additions to articles at this website.

Also see CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR and FIREPLACES & HEARTHS

Readers should see WOOD Burning Heaters Fireplaces Stoves for our complete list of articles on this topic. Also see HOME & BUILDING INSPECTORS & INSPECTION METHODS. Use the Search Box at the top or bottom of these pages to find in-depth information about building, energy savings, and indoor environment inspection, diagnosis and repair at this website. Watch out: these inspection lists do not list all possible defects for the systems discussed, and not all home or building inspectors will examine all of the items listed here. CONTACT us to suggest corrections or additions to articles at this website.

Also see CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR and FIREPLACES & HEARTHS

These curriculae and building defect lists are based on smilar curriculum documents first prepared by Joe Scaduto, an ASHI member who prepared course material for Northeastern University's Building Inspection Certificate program in 1988, subsequently by DF, InspectApedia's editor, for New York University ca 1988 and later, with others, recommended to ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. ASHI did not adopt this material though currently that association as well as others offer extensive HOME INSPECTOR EDUCATION material. The curriculum and lists of defects are informed by additional analysis of the process of home inspection that was developed beginning Calgary, AB for Canadian and U.S. home inspector education and certification examinations in 1997. Other early contributors to home inspection education in the U.S. and Canada include Dr. Jess Aronstein, Alan Carson, Mike Casey, Mark Cramer, John Cox, Dwight Barnett, Douglas Hansen, Rick Heyl, Larry Hoytt, Bill Merrill, Kevin O'Malley, Dennis Robitalille, Keith Peddie, Pat Porzio, Roger Robinson.

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