Pre-cast fireplaces were installed on many homes throughout California during the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s. We come across them frequently while inspecting homes here in San Diego County. Many of these fireplaces were cracked or damaged before they were even installed. Most of the cracks discovered are typically at the “insulation plate” which starts at the fireplace opening and extended to the smoke chamber . A damaged fireplace can allow smoke, fire and carbon monoxide to enter the home which is a serious safety concern and fire hazard. During a recent home inspection, I came across this pre-cast fireplace that was severely cracked (one of the worst I’ve ever seen) and not safe for use. The only fix for this fireplace would be to tear it down and build a new one. If you are concerned about the fireplace in the home that you currently own or one installed at a home you are considering purchasing, be sure you have it thoroughly inspected by a qualified expert before attempting to use it.
A safety hazard was discovered during a recent home inspection here in San Diego by an inspector from John Robinson’s Inspection Group. Upon entering the attic space of this North Park area home, the inspector observed that the gas furnace flue pipe was not properly installed. A separation was noted about halfway between the top of the furnace and the roof sheathing. This is a serious health and safety hazard. Every time this gas furnace is turned on, the byproducts of combustion including Carbon Monoxide are allowed to spill or leak right back into the home. This condition can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is known as the “Silent Killer”. It can prevent the body from receiving oxygen. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can be flu-like: to include nausea, headaches, hard time breathing, weakness, trouble falling asleep, and fatigue. In large quantities, carbon monoxide can cause fainting, brain damage, or death.
To repair this condition is as simple as hiring a qualified HVAC contractor to properly reconnect this pipe back together. This home also lacked carbon monoxide detectors. The installation of carbon monoxide detectors in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association installation recommendations will greatly improve the level of safety in this home. Here’s a link to their website for more information: http://goo.gl/ptA8eP
The inspectors here at John Robinson’s Inspection Group are always looking for health and safety hazards during each and every home inspection we perform. Our goal is to ensure that the home you are considering buying, selling, or renting is safe for those who are currently or going to live in it. If you are concerned about safety hazards in your home do not hesitate to contact our office to set up an appointment….Someones life could depend on it.