Hugh Cairns: The end of flue season

High above our heads, our chimneys mostly go by unnoticed. Often neglected, chimneys are regarded as a critical component in our heating systems. I suspect that chimneys are overlooked because of their rugged long lasting looks. But of course their ability to protect themselves isn’t entirely related to their looks.

I’d venture to say most of the homebuyers I meet through home inspections would expect that the purpose of examining of a roof would be to look at its covering, but that’s not the case with home inspections. We look beyond the roof covering and assess the drainage systems, the visible flashings and roof penetrations including the chimney when present.

You shouldn’t wait for a home inspection to inspect your chimney. The professional inspection of a chimney is an important service offered by several reputable chimney services here in the Okanagan. Many follow the recommendations of the National Fire Code of Canada.

The most important reason to have your chimney inspected is for your safety. Flue deterioration can cause poisonous gases to enter your home through the smallest of cracks. In serious cases, chimney and flue erosion can result in flue blockage and partial or complete internal collapse.

Chimneys operate under temperature extremes and are exposed to the weather. When a chimney inspection results in observable warping or buckling it is a concern. When a chimney is compromised it can cause serious damage to your home. It is vital to have your chimney checked for problems yearly. Now is a great time with months of reliable weather ahead of us.

Do I need my chimney inspected?

You bet, in my opinion at least before each burning season and of course every year before Santa’s arrival. If you are purchasing a home or have had performance issues, a chimney inspection should be a top priority for you. Never wait to have a chimney inspection if you suspect abnormal conditions. Waiting often results in additional repairs and sometimes property loss.

Who inspects chimneys?

In the Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton areas call in a WETT technician. There are different levels of WETT certification. WETT is the acronym for Wood Energy Technology Training. A WETT basic visual inspection is a general overview of the readily accessible parts of a solid fuel burning system to determine if the system meets current regulations. Anyone with a WETT basic visual inspection can conduct a WETT basic inspection, but like most professions, in my books it is better to have your system inspected by someone who install and repaired wood burning systems. In this case the specialist is the technician.

Nobody knows about wood energy better than those who offer wood energy products, installation and maintenance services to the public. Sure, those who are certified may be able to point out corrections needed, but in virtually all cases they don’t offer, or have the tools and the background, to complete the repairs.

For more information on WETT inspections and chimneys click here.

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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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