Columbus Ohio real estate



It's Friday... so I needed a furnace or air conditioning post for my blog about Columbus Ohio real estate.   Thanks to CT home inspector, James Quarello for a post about drafting problems and scorch marks and what they mean.

We typically do not have "boilers" in residential heating in Central Ohio but our typical gas forced air furnaces rely on proper drafting of exhaust gases as well. 

Next Friday, Friday July 1, 2011 is furnace filter Friday.

Home inspection

Home maintenance


As anyone who has ever used an iron knows, if you leave the iron too long in one spot, your clothes will scorch. What that scorch mark tells us is that something happened that should not have occurred. We learn that when we see a scorch mark, we have done something wrong and need to correct our technique.

When doing home inspection in Connecticut, some thing I look for on heating equipment is scorch or soot marks. Seeing a scorch mark on a boiler or furnace usually means that something may be wrong with the equipment. It also means I must look extra closely at the unit.

Scorching on boiler jacketOn a recent home inspection I noticed scorching on the front of the boiler from halfway across the basement. The burn was so bad the paint has cracked. This tells me that the problem had/has been repeatedly occurring for quite some time.

Now looking at that mark one would think it was caused by a flame.

It is not.

Like the scorching on your clothes it is caused by heat. Not heat from a direct flame, but heat from the combustion gases back venting out the draft opening under the scorched area.

It means at times this boiler was exhausting into the house.

Looking over the equipment, I noticed that the chimney cleanout door had been removed from the opening behind the boiler. The door was resting on the floor next to the unit.

Chimney cleanout doorWhy is this significant, you ask?

It tells me that the drafting problem is known and someone tried to fix it.

Removing or opening the chimney cleanout door is done by "technicians" sometimes to fix a drafting problem with heating equipment. It's a shortcut that does not actually fix the problem. By creating a large opening below the vent pipe, negative pressure is achieved inside the flue which improves the draft.

The correct way to fix this problem is to put a steel liner inside the chimney flue. Basically this reduces the size of the flue area, which in turn makes for a good draft. This is also another good argument for the elimination of heating equipment that relies on a masonry chimney to vent.

So if you see scorching on a heating system, it's a lot more serious than a burnt shirt.



James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
2010 - 2011 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services. Learn more about our home energy audits, the Home Energy Tune uP®.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.



This post provided by Maureen McCabe HER Realtors*

Contact Maureen McCabe of HER Realtors* - 614.388.8249

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Information is deemed to be accurate but should be verified to your satisfaction.  Information provided herein is supplied by several sources and is subject to change without notice.  Opinions expressed are solely those of Maureen McCabe.



Comment balloon 3 commentsMaureen McCabe • June 24 2011 07:30AM


Maureen, thanks for bringing this back.  It's aways good to know this kind of information when looking at houses with gas heat.  I actually have gas in my house.  So you know what I'm doing today.  Inspecting!!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 8 years ago

Great repost, missed the original one, this is why we need home inspectors.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) about 8 years ago

I love when home inspectors, like James can pick up on stuff like the chimney cleanout  door being off or open.  That to me is priceless in a home inspection.  Makes me think of them (home inspectors) as detectives. 

Some of them "got it...." some of them don't.  You can see in a home inspection when they "got it." When they don't???  You can tell on ActiveRain which home inspectors are detectives... Jay M and James jump to mind for me.  I love reading their posts.  I love their home inspection photos.

I ran into the recommendation to  "put a steel liner inside the chimney flue. Basically this reduces the size of the flue area, which in turn makes for a good draft."  on a home inspection a couple of years ago.  I can not remember whether there were scorch marks, etc.  How the home inspector determined that should be done on that Worthington Ohio home may be in the written report.  Drafting confuses me....

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) about 8 years ago