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Chimney Height Violations: The 3’:2’:10’ Rule

For Safety purposes, building code requires that a chimney must meet the 3:2:10 requirement. The 3:2:10 requiremnt states that the chimney must terminate at least 3 feet above the highest point of the roof that it penetrates, and be at least 2 feet higher than anything within an imaginary 10’ horizontal radius encompassing the top of the chimney.

Chimney height specs.

Chimney height specs.

When these homeowners changed the pitch of their roof, they neglected to raise the height of the chimney. This chimney termination does not extend at least 3' above the roof as required.

When these homeowners changed the pitch of their roof, they neglected to raise the height of the chimney. This chimney termination does not extend at least 3′ above the roof as required.

This requirement is primarily for two reasons:

1. To ensure nearby combustible objects are less likely to catch fire. Objects such as trees, roofs gables, walls, etc. must all be kept at a respectable distance to prevent an unintentional fire.

2. To keep your fireplace from smoking into your home by trying to ensure the chimney will draft properly. If the top of your chimney is too close to an adjacent object such as a tree, wall, or nearby building, wind may create a high pressure plane that may push air down your chimney and force smoke into your home. In some situations, even though your chimney meets minimum height requirements, it may still need to be extended higher in order to draft properly.

This chimney is way too close to this home's siding. It is not at least 2 feet higher than anything within a 10 foot radius. Its height must be extended until it meets this requirement.

This chimney is way too close to this home’s siding. It is not at least 2 feet higher than anything within a 10 foot radius. Its height must be extended until it meets this requirement.

This chimney is way too close to this home's roof. It is not at least 3 feet higher than the tallest point of the roof that it penetrates. It is also not 2 feet higher than anything within a 10 foot radius. Its height must be extended until it meets this requirement.

This chimney is way too close to this home’s roof. It is not at least 3 feet higher than the tallest point of the roof that it penetrates. It is also not 2 feet higher than anything within a 10 foot radius. Its height must be extended until it meets this requirement.

If your chimney is not tall enough to meet minimum building code, A to Z is very experienced at extending chimneys to their proper heights. When it comes to your chimney’s safety and performance, A to Z goes to great “lengths” in ensuring your safety and comfort aren’t “short” changed!


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If you think clothes dryer fires aren’t real, think again! Many years ago I had a lovely home in the hills of the bay area. Returning from a shopping trip one day, I came home to a pile of smoldering rubble that used to be our house!

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