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  1. #1
    Dale W. Feb's Avatar
    Dale W. Feb Guest

    Question Sweeping Required?

    I am confused and would like your opinion on the following information. The following post was sent on a sweeping message board in response to this question. “I am doing a presentation to an ASHI group and would like to know what information the Home Inspectors needs to know.”

    Vic stated; "The key here is to remind them over and over A INSPECTION IS
    WORTHLESS UNLESS THE SYSTEM IS SWEPT."

    A statement in Vic’s defense, after he was questioned on the statement above,
    “Vic is not only an experienced sweep and CSIA top level teacher, but he heads the Affiliated Trades Committee which represents us to the Home Inspector and Realty industries.”

    So the question is… Do all of you believe this statement is accurate? Are there systems that do not require service? Is there valuable evidence that can be destroyed? Does this action benefit anyone? Please let me know your opinion.

    Similar Threads:
    Last edited by Dale W. Feb; 06-05-2007 at 05:10 PM.
    AHIT InspectIt Home Report

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Posts
    613

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    Hi Dale,
    I'm the one HI who didn't recognize your name a week or so ago. Mea culpa.
    As for me, I try first to make sure that I cover the requirements of the TX SOP (attached). Over the last few months, Bob has helped me to understand that I can't meet those requirements with the limited understanding I have from a few classes, independent reading, and attempting to interpret code. Even with ten years HI experience and thousands of jobs, I will not feel confident without better developed education. Therefore, I am noting on every inspection that a level 2 inspection is suggested for all transfers of Real property.
    I have no idea if it's a good suggestion or not, but I have recommended that the system is not cleaned until a level 2 inspection is conducted. I assumed that a level 2 inspector would offer cleaning services if needed and that a cleaning prior to the inspection might remove evidence that I may have missed.
    Because I get upset with anyone who automatically refers/defers to the "experts", I list all defects I find first, then make the recommendation. In those cases where I find no infractions, It is a simple statement that a level 2 inspection is always suggested.
    The hardest part of this job for me has always been when to defer and when not to. Undoubtedly, the best CYA approach would be to always defer. But, then, why does my Client need me? If I defer to an SE, level2, HVAC specialist, Electrician, Plumber, Mason, etc., why has my Client hired me?
    Since you operate a successful school, let me take this opportunity to ask you to consider; Create online courses for masonry fireplaces, inserts, manufactured fireplaces, wood stoves. Register with TREC for CE credits. Allow those of us who would like to learn more but don't have the resources or time to travel to Va or Ca. Obviously, I'm not talking about certification. I am talking about meaningful education that doubles as CEU credit. You have no idea how bad some of the available FP education is.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,222

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    In order of the questions:

    1: No, I don't agree. It's not worthless if you see a cracked flue liner or clearances that aren't in agreement with manufacturer's specs. Would it be better if it was swept before the inspection? Yes, I would agree with that.

    2: I can't think of any systems that do not require service. Maybe a direct vent gas fireplace, but even that should probably be vacuumed once in a while.

    3: I'm not sure about this question. I guess there could be valuable evidence destroyed by sweeping the chimney, but would that normally be the case? I would think not in a normal situation.

    4: I'm not sure what action you're asking about here.

    I would also be down for learning more. Perhaps a class in conjunction with Inspection World the day before or after. Taking a full week in CA or VA is pretty hard for most of us. It's not just the travel and meals, but also the lost income.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,632

    Cool Re: Sweeping Required?

    I guess this person never inspected a gas fireplace. Also, I know us Southerners seem a little slow to the rest of the world but I just can't seem to find where in NFPA 211 it requires or even mentions sweeping a chimney prior to an inspection. Maybe it is in the St. Louis edition of 211. In fact, in 14.4.2.4, it clearly states "The inspection shall include verification that the flue or flues being inspected are free of combustible deposits and blockage or obstruction." If you run a brush up there before inspecting it, how can you make this determination? Brushing first is destroying evidence. Valuable evidence as to how this unit has been operated, if there has been pyrolysis of creosote, water tracks from either lack of a proper rain cap or water intrusion through the masonry proper, animal nests and how many layers and of what (bird, squirrel, racoons, etc.) Any professional investigator, whether on CSI Miami or a chimney or home inspector always documents the pre-existing conditions. Once you sweep it or modify it, you can no longer attest to the pre-existing conditions. Sure, in some cases, it might require inspection, sweeping followed by re-inspection. It depends upon the circumstances of the inspection.

    How many reported flue "cracks" are actually brush marks in the creosote?

    No, NFPA 211 does not list sweeping under Degree of Access. Section 13.4.2 states "The chimney shall be cleaned, lined or relined or repaired as necessary". The preceding sections state this is to be done on an annual basis or when replacing a connector or appliance. The inspection determines if the flue needs to be swept in the first place, AS PRESCRIBED IN 211. Therefore, this person is putting the cart before the horse. Also, indiscrimanately sweeping flues regardless whether they need it or not is unscrupulous and deceitful. In the case with gas appliances, there is no residue to sweep unless you have much larger problems, which, btw, the inspection picks up.

    Bob

    Last edited by Bob Harper; 06-07-2007 at 07:19 PM.
    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Garland, TX
    Posts
    605

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Walker View Post
    Since you operate a successful school, let me take this opportunity to ask you to consider; Create online courses for masonry fireplaces, inserts, manufactured fireplaces, wood stoves. Register with TREC for CE credits. Allow those of us who would like to learn more but don't have the resources or time to travel to Va or Ca. Obviously, I'm not talking about certification. I am talking about meaningful education that doubles as CEU credit. You have no idea how bad some of the available FP education is.
    Dale,

    I'll second Thom's statements and will pony up just as soon as this is offered.

    My Amex # is xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx you get the point.

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Posts
    613

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    Well, Dale. Once again I prove that a college education does't mean One can read. I took "is there a system that doesn't need service?" literally. You know, like Bob h installs a system. I come in two weeks later. Does it need service?

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  7. #7
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post

    I would also be down for learning more. Perhaps a class in conjunction with Inspection World the day before or after. Taking a full week in CA or VA is pretty hard for most of us. It's not just the travel and meals, but also the lost income.
    I spent 3 days this week attending a class here in Dallas (was lucky) and folks traveled from Oregon, Fla, NC, Minnesota and other foriegn countries (to Texans). Heck I was able to work in the late evenings and still go to school all three days. Now a $549 class, $600.00 round trip flight and 2 night stay (135/per) adds up pretty quick.

    I too would pony-up for a course by the Feb-man.

    Rich


  8. #8
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    All Chimneys, Flues, Fireplaces require a Level 2 Inspection Prior to Closing.


  9. #9
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph P. Hagarty View Post
    All Chimneys, Flues, Fireplaces require a Level 2 Inspection Prior to Closing.
    A Level II would be required only if your local jurisdiction has adopted NFPA 211.

    What Dale is asking, if a Level II is conducted, must you sweep the flue prior to inspecting?

    My answer is no. HI's who think the chimney must be swept are of course not considering that with the proper training they could perform a Level II - or even an enhanced Level I with a video camera inspection of the flue.

    This is exactly the service I now offer my clients using a Chim-Scan camera. The damage I find on most fireplaces results in an repair bill often exceeding $3,500 and I am convinced I am helping prevent house fires.

    Think about the question, folks, and don't be so fast to pass a FP inspection off to, what are often, unqualified chimney sweeps.


  10. #10
    Kevin Stewart's Avatar
    Kevin Stewart Guest

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    Jim Gecz Posted

    A Level II would be required only if your local jurisdiction has adopted NFPA 211.


    He is only partially correct on this, the levels of inspection are offered as a standard and as they have now been around for 7 years and are in use throughout the country they have become an industry standard, whether the NFPA document has been adopted or not. Just like the ASHI standards are not adopted into law, they are a good guideline for all HI's. The Chimneys and Fireplace levels of inspection would be required the moment you advised the client that there was an issue with the chimney during the real estate transaction. A national standard, not to inspect to that standard is in my opinion negligent, and referring someone who is not trained to inspect to that standard could be constituted as negligent referral.
    We await the legal community to clarify the boundaries until then stay out of court and walk the standards, they are there to protect us all.

    Kevin T Stewart


  11. #11
    Dale W. Feb's Avatar
    Dale W. Feb Guest

    Smile Re: Sweeping Required?

    Just to clarify, the NFPA 211 Inspection Standards are listed within Chapter 14. These inspection standards are the only one of its kind and is taught, preached and accepted throughout the professional end of the hearth industry. This chapter is what all fireplace & Chimney Inspectors will be held accountable for in the court system. They place this information within the "general practice" category. In fact, some legal departments have been fairly successful in applying this information to losses occurring prior to the standards publication (2000).


  12. #12
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Stewart View Post
    He is only partially correct on this…Kevin T Stewart
    No, beg to differ, I am 100 percent correct in my answer. Show me one place in NJ that a Level II is required during a home inspection, and I will give you your due.

    Remember, my reply was to a question that stated a Level II is “required”. As a home inspector it is not is not required because NFPA is an industry standard for the hearth industry, not home inspectors.

    As a home inspector, I will be held to the standards of my industry not that of a chimney sweep.

    In NJ, the standard for my inspection is clearly spelled out in the NJ SOP which states that I shall inspect “Chimneys and combustion vents excluding interiors of flues and chimneys…” There is no obligation to perform or even to recommend a Level II. That is the point.

    Best wishes or changing state of affairs is another subject. As of this moment there is no requirement for a Level II during a home sale unless that standard has been specifically adopted by a local jurisdiction.


  13. #13
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Sweeping Required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Gecz View Post
    No, beg to differ, I am 100 percent correct in my answer. Show me one place in NJ that a Level II is required during a home inspection, and I will give you your due.

    Remember, my reply was to a question that stated a Level II is “required”. As a home inspector it is not is not required because NFPA is an industry standard for the hearth industry, not home inspectors.

    As a home inspector, I will be held to the standards of my industry not that of a chimney sweep.

    In NJ, the standard for my inspection is clearly spelled out in the NJ SOP which states that I shall inspect “Chimneys and combustion vents excluding interiors of flues and chimneys…” There is no obligation to perform or even to recommend a Level II. That is the point.

    Best wishes or changing state of affairs is another subject. As of this moment there is no requirement for a Level II during a home sale unless that standard has been specifically adopted by a local jurisdiction.
    I cite the NFPA 211 Standard and recommend accordingly.

    2000 - Industry Standard for the Three Levels of

    Level II Inspection: The addition of a new home heating appliance or a change in the type of fuel a homeowner is burning requires a Level II inspection. This inspection level is also required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operating malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. The scope of a Level II inspection includes that of the Level I inspection plus the inspection of accessible portions of the attics, crawl spaces and basements. It may also include a performance test such as a smoke test or a pressure test and possibly an interior chimney video inspection if recommended by the certified chimney sweep.


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