Jay Markanich, a very knowledgeable home inspector from Bristow VA and Active Rain Blogger shared this impression on DIY projects. Now, not all DIY projects have these issues, most of my father's projects will outlast the home (but that is because he is an engineer). I remember, as a teenager helping him dig 3 foor deep post holes with a 12" auger and pouring over 90 lbs of cement/concrete(?) in each hole, and checking levels on three planes for each post while he secure them... he did the research, thought the project through, prepared carefully and used the proper equipment, but not all of us do this ;-)
Throughout the post, there is a hint of what home inspectors don't like to see during an inspection. This hint appears 7 times and is in bold print. See if you can find it.
As we know, heat that exhausts from something typically wants to go UP. It does so because typically cooler temperatures are UP and heat seeks cold. That's physics.
You and I are not qualified to change physics. Neither is the DIY guy. I affectionately refer to DIY guys as Uncle Bob. The reason is that so often DIY jobs are the same, yet in different places and on different aged houses. Obviously the homeowners invited the DIY same guy over to do the DIY repair.
So what do you think I think when I see the same incorrect thing on two different houses, on the same day?
Each has been extended from the house. Each is gooped everywhere with silicone caulk. Each points down. Each is where people walk and can be broken easily. Neither has damage above, like melted siding or soot on the trim, so it is unknown why the extension was felt to be needed.
With a properly-installed flue, like mine below, an extension is not needed.
Our flue has been there for 13 years and used year after year without any ill effects. That is because it was installed properly.
The sellers of the flue on the right say they have been in the house 8 years and have never used the fireplace. It is a wood-pellet insert. They didn't feel it much savings to buy the pellets, which really are expensive, especially if you want the fireplace to heat the house.
It's a good thing they hadn't used it! There's a huge bird nest inside! You can actually see the grass from the inside when you look inside the insert!
My recommendation: DIY is just that. Just because you see something on TV doesn't mean you know what you're doing. And when it comes to fireplaces (yikes!) you really, really should know what you're doing before you do it! Look around when you first see a home for sale. If there appear to be DIY jobs, ask the seller if that is the case. You might even go so far as to ask if there was a permit pulled for the installation. If you don't, I assure you, the home inspector will!
Inspectors meet up with Uncle Bob a lot. This guy gets around! And, I suspect, to every state in the country!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage