Congratulations! You’re buying a new home!!
Buying a new, or new to you, home is an exciting and often exhausting time.
It can feel like there are a never-ending list of things that need to be done before you can feel comfortable with this new venture. From finding a home and property that meets all of your needs and wants, to ensuring you dream home is all it’s cracked up to be.
If you feel like you’ve found the house for you and your family, the next part is making an offer! What a rush!
Part of that offer is often a condition on inspection of your potential NEW HOME. Home Inspections help you to identify possibly MAJOR issues that may be lying just out of eye-sight.
Many home inspectors will offer prospective buyers a “discount” on a WETT Inspection when you book it in combination with their home inspection package. A shiney offer for home buyers who are looking at spending a few hundred bucks on a *potential* purchase.
Before you get excited it’s important to aska few questions.
- “Will you be performing a level 1 or a level 2 inspection?”
- “How much experience do you have with wood appliances and chimneys?”
- “What level of WETT Certification do you hold?”
Let’s look at why saving $100 may cost you and your family more in the end.
First, let’s discuss the “standard. The industry standard for a WETT Inspection as performed by most home inspectors is a level 1 inspection. A basic once over of your wood burning unit.
A level 1 inspection looks at the readily accessible parts of your system for compliance with manufacturer and industry standards. In laymens terms, they are making sure it is the right disctance from combustibles and it’s not obviously damaged.
A level one inspection does not even require the technician or inspector to OPEN the stove or fireplace door.
A home can “pass” inspection just because the stove was installed x number of inches from the wall and has non-combustible flooring underneath it.
If it helps, the above two pictures also “passed” a level 1 inspection because, from the “look” of things, the units were an appropriate distance from the ceiling, wall and floor.
What SHOLD you look for?
You should always request a Level 2 Inspection, a closer look at your wood burning unit.
A Level 2 Inspection always requires the use of a camera to ensure that the chimney liner, pipe, tiles are free and clear of harmful and dangerous creosote, if there are any defects that are noticed or may occur in the near future based on the condition of the unit, and will check the operating effectiveness of the unit.
A level 2 inspection will help you to make an informed decision on the state of the wood appliance in the home you are going to buy. You will know if there is evidence of recent chimney fire, if there is damage to the interior of your unit and chimney, and if there are any pending concerns that may prohibit your purchase of the home.
If you want to get it done right, you need to look for the right professionals.
Always ask if your inspector holds a SITE Comprehensive Inspector Certification and is qualified to properly access your wood burning unit.
We are SITE Comprehensive
What was missed?
You may be wondering what is being missed by a general Level 1 Inspection?
For starters, everything inside your wood burning unit. Your fire box, your chimney – the parts of the unit that direct the smoke, flames and the sparks away from your home.
They also exclude the dampers, smoke shelfs, thermostats, ventallation and fans. They don’t look at the rain cap, the spark screen, or even the rope around the door to your wood stove.
Basically, everything is missed when your inspection isn’t done right.
We’ve Seen it All
Our team has been called out to misdiagnosed fireplaces and inserts, to units too close to ceilings and walls, for cleanings of stoves that were missing baffles or dampers all together. We’ve see full and partial blockages and even cracked tiles, all of which have “passed” inspection but – for all intents and purposes – were not safe to operate.
Too often we come to homes for a sweep or for smoke entering the home and are greeted with “I had an inspection on purchase and I don’t know what is wrong.”
We take a quick look and find significant creosote buildup, often indicative of a chimney fire (like the image at the top of the article, this was removed in chunks from the chimney of new home owners with a young family), and we set to work, cleaning the caked creosote and assessing the chimeny for any other unknown damage missed by the Level 1 Inspection at the time of purchase.
If you ask us, saving $100 isn’t worth the additional risk when you are literally playing with fire.
Keep your eyes peeled for our post about how we saved our client THOUSANDS by properly identifying her wood burning unit.