Home Inspection: Is your Gas Fireplace Safe?

Posted on: June 16, 2016 by in Blog
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As part of Delaware Home Inspection team, I take my inspections very seriously, Your safety is my concern. The home I was inspecting was 15yrs old. The new buyer found us  on the internet and booked there inspection with us. I learned from there agent that the home was previously inspected, Which I never assume the other inspector performed a complete evaluation of the property. I started my inspection on the exterior of the home and found that the exterior chimney had soot and so did the areas around the chimney my first thought was a combustion problem IE not enough air or a blocked vent pipe. After closer inspection of the chimney vent pipe I found nothing that would indicate a problem or a potential problem. As I entered the home I went straight to the fireplace and found the whole front panel of glass was black this again was soot.  I turned on the fireplace and could barely see the flame but what I could see was very troubling to me. The flame was orange and the pattern was distorted which I knew right away this was a gas problem.

Glass front with black soot.

Glass front with black soot

Let me explain the property is supplied with propane gas and I new this fireplace should be using that fuel to burn. When I opened up the lower portion of the fire place I found no indications that the gas valve was converted from Natural Gas to Propane Gas. Let me explain all manufactures make and ship there products set up for Natural gas and when the builder, contractor or even end user purchase and install the products in the home they have to purchase a conversion kit to change the gas valve so it can burn the right fuel. Well way in the back of the fireplace under 15yrs of dirt I found a tag which said the unit was for natural gas.


Tag Under fireplace

Tag Under fireplace

This troubled me for two reasons, First the other Inspection company missed this item for the previous buyer, but more importantly was that the current home owner was living this way for the past 15yrs.  The home owner was very lucky because this is a very dangerous situation not only from the soot but the gas valve could have cracked and caused gas to leak out into the home and if the conditions were right it could have exploded. I did notify all of the parties involved that I   was turning off the fireplace and gas valve and that this should fixed right away.

When you find your dream home, make sure that you get a thorough home inspection from the Most trusted Delaware Home Inspector, Ted Hinderer of Quality Home Inspections, he serves New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties. Schedule online or give us a Call today at 302-893-1364 for a thorough home inspection. We won’t let you buy the money pit.

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