LESLIE: Toni in Alabama is dealing with an HVAC issue. Tell us what’s going on.
TONI: Oh, hi. OK. I live in a ranch-style home.
TONI: And the fireplace is in the den and I’m fine during the wintertime. I can turn the heat on; no odor, no nothing. But come summertime, when the humidity goes high, there’s an awful odor of creosote that comes out into the room.
TOM: Well, have you cleaned your fireplace, Toni?
TONI: Oh, well we had it cleaned when we – well, initially, when we burned wood in it. We’ve been here 30-some years and we burn wood.
TONI: Well, we decided we didn’t like that so we got a gas insert. And we had the chimney cleaned before and I personally got in there and cleaned all the brick that you can see, where you burn, you know.
TOM: Right. Hmm. Well, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to have that chimney inspected because – I know you think it’s clean. It may not have been cleaned. I don’t know if you looked up inside of it or got up on the roof and looked down.
But what I want to suggest you do is contact a professional home inspector and have them do the inspection. You want to find somebody who’s got a fair amount of experience. You can do that by going to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors, at ASHI.org – A-S-H-I.o-r-g.
And a good home inspector is going to go up on the roof, look down the chimney. You want to take a good look at what it looks like inside of it. Let’s make sure it truly is clean. Not that the chimney sweep you had would have done a bad job on purpose but we’ve seen it before, so let’s make sure that the chimney is very clean. Because if it’s still got some creosote in it, not only is it potentially dangerous, it also is going to react with the moisture. And because your return vent is right near there, it’s going to draw right into the house. So I think that’s the best place to start.
Toni, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.