Inspection Insights – Fireplaces, Radon and Sewer Lines

Buyers are increasingly adding more items to the inspection process. Sewer line and fireplace inspections have been added now along with testing for radon. A savvy seller might have these items looked at and mitigated before they go to market to help speed the process.


In older homes, fireplaces and their chimneys tend to raise red flags in inspections – and can lead to insurance issues if problems are not remedied. Particularly if your home was built prior to the 1960’s, having your fireplace inspected in advance of beginning the selling process is important. Weather-proofing, cleaning, sealing and securing existing brickwork are basic necessities for safety. If an old fireplace is meant to be used again for burning wood – or to one day be converted with a natural gas burning insert – installation of a flexible chimney lining may be the solution that leads to the least negotiation during the selling process.


Radon is a naturally-occurring, odorless, radioactive gas that can’t be seen and may lead to lung cancer over prolonged exposure. Minnesota and other northern states are often recorded to have high levels of naturally-occurring radon in soil around homes. Conducting a radon test is the only way to determine its presence. Do-it-yourself test kits are available as well as professional services who may monitor the air quality in your basement over a number of days. If your tests indicate your radon levels are above recommended levels (4 pCi/L) and you hope to sell your home, preparing your home by undergoing mitigation efforts may help to speed your selling process. Solutions may include sealing any openings in old foundations or installing a fan that pulls air from your soil around your foundation and pushes it outside. Read more at

Sewer Lines

Sewer lines are a part of a home that are just expected to work and are often overlooked. In older neighborhoods–and particularly those with large trees and roots that may interfere with sewer lines–inspecting in advance of selling may identify the age of the line and the need for cleaning or even replacement in worst case scenarios. Many plumbers have remote cameras that can be used for the inspection. Cleaning a clogged or partially obstructed sewer line is a fairly easy remedy. Replacing a failing or crumbling sewer line is more serious, but new “trenchless” methods can be employed in some circumstances where new sewer lines are pulled through the old line rather than digging up the entire yard.

If you are thinking of selling, being proactive and identifying and remedying possible red flags before getting too far in the process can lead to a quicker sale with fewer surprises.

Contact us if you’d like to chat through any of these ideas or would like a referral to a service who can assist.