Is our fireplace safe?

Old 03-23-01, 08:49 AM
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We've recently bought a house built in 1972 with a fireplace. It's obvious the fireplace hasn't been used in a long time. We had a company in to clean it and they told us from what they could see it was safe to use. We still have concerns about it. The chimney runs through the attic to the roof and we have no idea what we should be looking for as far as insulation, etc. through the attic into the roof. Because we live in a small town there is no one here that does fireplace inspections (we could have an entire house inspection done for $250 tho). Any help would be appreciated. We live in Whitecourt, AB, Canada.
Old 03-24-01, 12:39 PM
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If it was built to code in 1972, it should be safe to use. There would be a minimum thickness of bricks-and-mortar around the firebox and chimney flue liners.
Just have it cleaned and check every year, if you use it very much.
You can see if it needs to be cleaned yourself, by shining a flashlight up the chimney. If you can't see the color of the flue liners due to creosote buildup, have it cleaned.
Good Luck!
Old 03-24-01, 06:52 PM
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Wink Thanks

Thanks OldGuy

Looks like we can use up our firewood after all.

Old 03-31-01, 07:08 PM
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As a Certified chimney sweep, I never tell my customers a chimney is safe. Safe is a relative term when it comes to having a fire inside your home, whether it's in a fireplace or not.

The only certian way to tell if a chimney can "perform it's intended function" is by an internal video scan. There are many things that can't be seen with the naked eye from the top or bottom of the flue. More often than not, I will find missing mortar joints between flue tiles or even no flue lining at all, or cracked flue tiles.

Visit and for lots of good information.

Word of caution here, be very leary of anyone that tells you your chimney is safe! Not trying to make OldGuy look bad, but unless someone has X-ray vision, they can't tell if a chimney was built to code or not without tearing it down. Most of the time, even in new construction today, chimneys are NOT built to code.
Old 04-03-01, 10:00 AM
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Thanks Sweep

Looks like we have some more research to do before we really get the fireplace going. Thanks for the info and sites to check out.

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