Like inspecting a heating boiler and a big wood stove/furnace all in one. Got to check the thermostat controlled items such as the prmary draft/blower (if installed), water pump and zones if any (they are used to heat multiple buildings in some cases, mostly on farms). Check condition of the firebox/chamber for warping (if steel)/deterioration of firebrick; similar for the steel chimney. Look for type of piping to house, etc and is it properly insulated.
Clearances to combustibles usually aren’t a problem as these are self contained steel units. Clearances to other buildings may be in the specs. Check with state/municipal codes…some are quite strict as to where and how these can be set up. (I researched this topic 1999 when I ran the energy regulations for our province; was quite surprised to see how many regulations there were for wood burning appliances in your country. I always thought the US had less not more regulations than here in Canada!!!)
Don’t know how heat is distributed in the house…could be through a water-to-air plenum mounted heat coil/exchanger in a furnace or HP/AC forced air (most likely) system or could go into hot water baseboards/radiant floors.
Thanks for your guidance. The system is question utilizes baseboard hot water in the house. The mechanics of the system do not scare me. The big question I have has to do with the height of the chimney on the unit. The township in which the dwelling is located made the current owner raise the chimney significantly – I don’t know exactly how high – because of air quality issues . I would think this has some effect on how well the fire will burn. I’m sure it voided any warranty.
I’ve gotten all my info about this inspection from the realtor so this should be an interesting one.
The key to inspecting one of these is to identify the unit (if possible) prior to the actual Inspection.
Obtain the appropriate Maintenace & Installation manuals from the manufacturer (.pdfs generally available on-line) so that you can review and be prepared as to the elements that will need to be inspected.
Educate yourself in the Unit Operation so that you can confidently inspect and answer the questions that your Client may have.
That’s correct! When these units call for increased water tenperature, a damper door opens and the smoldering fire starts to rekindle which causes a LOT of smoke (I had a unit for years). That’s why these things are banned in some areas.
As far as a taller chimney is concerned, make sure it is insulated. An uninsulated chimney will build up creosote much quicker than an insulated chimney.
The units are tested and “meet air standards” as far as the EPA is concerned. We were more concerned with the “sooting” that happens on houses and buildings that are so close to each other. In Bellefonte, it is a very Historical town with the buildings being so close to one another. Much like West Cheater.
There was one outdoor furnace installed before this ordinance was introduced into adoption. Fortunately, it was erected in a large lot, away from other homes, at a local lumber yard.