Homebuyers love fireplaces. In national realty surveys, 60 percent of homebuyers listed a fireplace among the top three amenities they look for in a home. In another survey, 46 percent of homebuyers said they would pay more for a home with a fireplace. According to the National Association of Realtors, a fireplace can increase a home’s value by up to $12,000.
With that in mind, maintaining your fireplace goes hand in hand with maintaining your home’s value. While homebuyers will pay more for a home with a fireplace, very few homebuyers want to take on homes that need costly and extensive repairs, and that includes chimney repairs. Additionally, a poorly maintained fireplace can show signs of water damage and staining, detracting from your home’s aesthetic value.
So what can you do to make sure that your home’s fireplace and chimney remains an asset to your home’s value, rather than becoming a liability?
Chimney maintenance begins with your annual chimney sweeping and inspection. First and foremost, your annual sweeping removes creosote from the inside of your chimney, saving your home from the risk of a chimney fire. On top of that, the creosote that builds up within your chimney is acidic. In addition to being a fire hazard, creosote left within the chimney can eat away at chimney liners, causing their deterioration.
The inspection portion of your annual chimney sweeping helps to identify any minor chimney problems before they become major chimney problems. Your chimney sweep will look for signs of water damage, leaks, cracks and other chimney deterioration. If a problem occurs, your chimney sweep will recommend a course of action for preventing a small chimney maintenance issue from become a major structural problem that could affect not just your chimney, but your home structure, as well.
Of course, preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure that your chimney boosts your home’s value. Generally, with chimneys, preventative maintenance means protecting your chimney and fireplace from water damage, as water is the leading cause of chimney and fireplace deterioration. There are three primary ways to protect your chimney from water damage:
• Chimney cap. A chimney covers your chimney’s opening like a little roof. It prevents water from running freely down the inside of your flue. You, or your chimney sweep, should check your chimney cap regularly to make sure it is in good repair and firmly in place over your flue.
• Waterproofing. A waterproofing treatment prevents moisture from seeping in to your chimney’s masonry and causing damage while still allowing your chimney to exhaust fireplace smoke and gases as it was meant to.
• Flashing. Flashing should surround your chimney’s base, preventing water from leaking into your home’s roofline. Just like your chimney cap, your flashing should be inspected regularly to make sure that it is secure and free from any holes, cracks or signs of corrosion.
Remember that investing in regular chimney maintenance is an investment in your home! If you are due for a sweeping and inspection, or if you would like to hear more about protecting your chimney and your home’s value, call the chimney experts at A to Z Chimney Services today!