Fireplace | Exterior Air

I’m about 95% through the CPI course, and currently working through ‘How to Inspect Fireplaces, Stoves, and Chimneys Course’. Specifically chapter 6 - Exterior Air.

Specified in the learning text is the following: Factory-built and masonry fireplaces must be provided with an exterior air supply to assure proper fuel combustion unless the room is mechanically ventilated.

My house was built in 1954, and I have a wood burning masonry fireplace. The fireplace is not being fed with exterior air, and the room that the fireplace is in is not mechanically ventilated.

My questions are:

  1. Is this typical for the time period in which the home was built?
    a). If so, do you happen to know when this changed?

  2. Should this be called out in an inspection report?

Hoping some of you veterans can save me some time digging, which I constantly find myself doing.

If pictures would be helpful, I’m happy to post.

Best Regards,

1 Like

Thanks for the link, Christopher.

The first edition of the International Residential Code (2000) also reflects combustion\exterior Air
Intake Requirements for fireplaces: - R1005.2 Exterior air intake.

Based on what Chuck Evans once said (CMI TREC 7657), “Don’t let anyone discount your opinion by stating it “wasn’t code when the house was built”. Safety applies in the here and now. Grandfathering is for code compliance. That’s not why you’re there. You’re there to inform your client of things about the house that may have negative consequences for them so that they may make informed decisions regarding their purchase of the property.”, I would like to know whether you, or any other inspector reading this and keeping in mind the home was built in '54, would mention the lack of combustion air in your inspection report?

Kevin, what I would report is the recommendation for a C.S.I.A. (Chimney Safety Institute Of America) Level 2 chimney/freplace inspection:

a Level 2 inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or…

Appreciate your feedback, Larry.

By the way, my wife asked me if I wanted ribs for dinner this evening, but after reading your ‘when bathing goes bad post’, I had to pass. Seriously though, I hope you are on the mend.

Thanks again!

LOL!..LOL! Thanks, Kevin! I appreciate your kind thoughts…4 to 6 weeks to go, yet…but. on the mend.

Older homes typically have more air movement through the home (air exchanges). Windows have long been used to improve the draft of fireplaces (especially when lighting) and supply additional exterior combustion air in these homes.

I would think that a 1954 home is not lacking any make up air for that fireplace. Most likely coming in through every receptacle in the home along with windows, doors and everywhere else. LOL

The glass half full view says, “the house is well ventilated.” The glass half empty view says, “the house is poorly insulated.” With today’s energy costs the second view gets far more attention.

Oh, you know it! :slight_smile:

100% correct. Additionally the previous owner removed the damper for some reason or another. This is causing condensation on the inside of the clean out door, which is located in my utilities room :-o

Thankfully the windows are newer!