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Furnaces Need Inspections Too

The historic homes nestled on shady tree-lined streets are the pride and joy of Downtown Richmond sharing a storied history. Many of the older homes were built around the mid-1700s to early 1800s, including the Old Stone House (1740), Virginia Executive Mansion (1813), and the Jefferson Davis Executive Mansion (1818).  We work on many historic or older homes and chimneys in the Downtown Richmond Area, including beautiful neighborhoods like The Fan, Carytown, Museum District, Scott’s Addition, Forest Hill, Stony Point, and Bonair, to name a few.

furnace inspection, richmond vaWhen You Need a Furnace Flue Inspection

Buying an older or historic home often includes updating its heating appliances to comply with current building codes while remaining true to its original architecture.  Many of these homes have multiple flues that connect to a single chimney. For example, the house may have a fireplace, a gas water heater, and a furnace, each with a flue venting to the same chimney.  Since the furnace and water heater can create moisture, the water heater must also be appropriately vented to prevent damage to the liner. Therefore, it is essential to have a Certified Chimney Sweep® who has experience working with older and historic homes perform a furnace flue inspection every year to ensure the furnace flue is working correctly and is not a fire or health hazard.

New Furnace Installation

You need a furnace flue inspection when installing a new furnace. In many cases, we have found that a new or high-efficiency gas furnace is connected to an existing chimney or liner system that doesn’t comply with current building codes or meet the new furnace requirements. The furnace liner or venting typically should not vent directly into an older clay liner being used for the fireplace. Still, in many historic Richmond neighborhoods, that is precisely what we have seen – a furnace directly venting into the brick chimney with no liner system at all, which is a fire hazard. The flue liner is essential for preventing heat transfer to nearby combustible building materials. If the flue is unlined, doesn’t have the correct liner, or the existing liner is deteriorating, it not only reduces the furnace’s efficiency but also increases the risk of fire and exposure to toxic carbon monoxide (CO) gas.

Modifying An Existing Furnace

Many older or historic homes in Richmond are converting from oil to gas furnaces, and the modification may not be compatible with the existing flue or liner. New gas furnaces are more energy-efficient but also have a higher heat output. So, it’s essential to have a furnace inspection when modifying an existing furnace to ensure the furnace flue is correctly sized and the liner is compatible with the appliance.

Moving Into a New Home

A furnace flue inspection is also a must before the sale or transfer of an older or historic home. During the inspection, a Certified Chimney Sweep® will conduct a thorough visual review to verify whether the furnace is installed correctly; the liner is sized and configured per the furnace manufacturer’s specifications, and the vent is clear of obstructions and combustible deposits. Sellers and homebuyers should keep in mind that real estate inspectors typically don’t have the training or certification necessary to conduct an NFPA furnace flue inspection.

furnace cleaning, carytown vaFurnace Flue Cleaning

Furnace flues need periodic cleaning, just like chimneys. Small animals like birds and squirrels can get into the vent, build nests, and block the venting of dangerous gases causing carbon monoxide (CO) to leak into the home. Also, gas or oil residue, poor venting, and other issues can reduce furnace performance, increase moisture, and accelerate the deterioration of the flue liner, increasing the risk of fire and CO exposure. After the flue inspection, the chimney sweep will determine whether flue cleaning is necessary. In many cases, we can do the cleaning during the same visit.

Free Furnace Inspections in Richmond, VA

We believe that furnace inspections are so vital to home safety that Chimney Savers Solutions offers free furnace inspections per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines for older and historic homes in the Downtown Richmond area, including the Museum District, Bonair, Carytown, The Fan, Scott’s Addition, Forest Hill, and Stony Point. We will check to ensure that the furnace is correctly installed, the flue and liner meet the requirements of the heating appliance, and the furnace is operating efficiently and safely venting the flue gases. Call to schedule a free furnace inspection today!

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