Thank you for your ideas, Gustav, Mr. Emann, Ed, Snuffy, Trader_4 and Tekki
I went to the HOA's Rules and Regulations and see they require that the fir
eplace and chimney be "professionally inspected." So I think I misunderstoo
d what the business managers were saying. Supposedly one of the business ma
nagers is coordinating an inspection day (or a couple days) for all condos
needing the inspection, with a particular contractor. But I needed this don
e, due to time commitments in the next two months which make it harder for
me to be at home any old time. I went to CraigsList, called a few of the ch
imney sweepers, and found what I think was a really good one. He explained
the design of my fireplace, how to build a fire in it, what to do before re
tiring at night with smoldering ashes and so on. (I never had a fireplace i
n my adult life before.) My chimney was so clear he commented on the whistl
ing (from wind) the instant he opened the damper and said he saw shiny stee
l metal at the liner. He had me look up there, too. It cost me only $30, an
d I tipped him generously. He had a nice business card and explained he'd b
een cleaning chimneys since he was a teenager.
At a HOA forum, a couple folks reported fires in chimneys at their HOAs rec
ently. They said it's been awful for the owners and neighbors alike. So des
pite the annoyance, sounds like it's a prudent plan for any home. As you al
l likely know well.
As always, I appreciate the support as I find my way in the mysteries of ho
me repairs and ownership.