Howdy, a collogue of mine who bought a condo 6 months ago tells me that
prior to the purchase, the home inspector OKd the fireplace and chimney,
said all is good. He had a sweep clean it out this past weekend and was
told not to use it as there were holes and breaks up along one side, even
saw insulation poking through. My collogue thinks that the home inspector
is liable in some way because he OKd it.
Any thought on the matter?
Read the contract you had with the inspector. Somewhere it will say
something like 'Not responsible for errors and omissions.'
Most home inspectors have no clue about what they are looking at. One house
I went to listed all the missing screws from the switches, but didn't
mention the condensing unit that was plugged up with grass clippings. AND
the condenser didn't have a hail guard!
I agree that a lot of "home inspectors" bring little experience to the
job and use contracts that are
hedged about with legal loop holes. That's not much different from a
lot of occupations. There are some good ones if you check carefully.
Definitely this home inspection business sets people up with a false
sense of security. I would not buy a house without one, and I'd use
the best one I could find, but I'd assume they're finding a subset of
Probably these chimney faults could be discovered only after a
thorough cleaning, and could not possibly have been visible to a
pre-sale inspection. The question isn't really whether the inspector
missed something, it's whether the limitations of an inspection were
communicated. The inspector ought to have said "nothing wrong from
what I can see from here, but you'll have to have a sweep look
inside", and the better/smarter of them do phrase things in this way.
If the inspector said "hey, a perfect chimney, absolutely good to go,
nothin' wrong with that baby, mm-hmm" then there may be a case to be
made. Definitely a complaint to the inspector or his agency (or
whoever recommended him) is not out of line. If he put such a comment
in writing then it'd be worth pursuing.
PS A cynical person would also ask whether the sweep is associated
with a seller of flue liners.
And speaking of flue liners. A sweep told me that I shouldn't burn anything
in my fireplaces until I got them lined. I have two "back-to-back" corner
fireplaces in my 1872 Victorian. The chimney is actually a huge 4-flue
chimney in which the fireplaces each go to one of the 4-flues. Any
suggestions on what kind of flue liner I should be looking at? The fireplaces
are used for asthetic purposes as opposed to heating the house.
I've heard of both chimney liners and "in the chimney" poured flue liners.
All advise is welcome.
Just to throw another wrench in, it may be wise to get another
opinion. I had a sweep come out a few years ago who made a big deal
about how the liner was cracked, he couldn't risk sweeping it, it'd
collapse and block the chimney, it needed a $3500 steel liner, and so
on. After he left I called another sweep -- "Nah, it's fine." He
cleaned it and it's been fine ever since.
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