One’s perspective is a key element in deriving a conclusion. History is replete with now erroneous scientific conclusions arrived at through a poor perspective. Astronomy would be an obvious example. Man first began gazing at the stars with his naked eye, then came the first telescopes. Crude devices by today’s standards, yet light years ahead of the regular method at the time. Modern space telescopes now probe unfathomable distances into the abyss of space to reveal wondrous images that stimulate the imagination. A far cry from that first instrument Galileo fashioned 400 years ago.
Through his improved perspective, Galileo discovered that the sun and known planets did not revolve around the Earth. Instead it was quite the opposite. For his conclusion he was severely ridiculed and punished. The arrogance of man can be as limitless as space. Inspecting a house can be similar to the history of astronomy, using the naked eye and modern equipment to derive conclusions based on the best attainable facts.
My approach is to first examine the exterior of the house from a distance. Next is to get a closer look, in particular any points of interest from my initial look around. For me ascending the roof is crucial to discovering the best information possible. It may not always be possible to get up there, but I make every reasonable effort.
The general belief most buyers seem to hold regarding ascending the roof, is to determine the condition of the covering. It is the obvious conclusion not without influence. While that might be the main purpose, there are other points of interest that can be observed from this better vantage point.
Masonry chimneys in Connecticut are almost as plentiful as stars in a clear night sky. Many of the chimneys here are used not for a fireplace, although many do serve that purpose, but to vent the products of combustion from the heating system. Fuel oil combustion is particularly hard on the chimney liner. So it is especially important for me to view the chimney liner when at all possible. Recently my ability to closely inspect the chimney coupled with the aid of modern instruments, a digital camera, was to aid me in “discovering” a before unknown method of chimney construction and use.
This chimney from a distance and closer up looked completely normal. As I approached the stacks of bricks, something did strike me as a bit off. The two liners poking through the top were of the similar size. Often with a two flue chimney, one liner is large, used to vent the fireplace, the other smaller, venting the heating system. Both here were large.
Not that I couldn’t see in the dark. It was that the liner ended. Directing my flashlight down the opening I could see the chimney was in essence a shell. The adjacent flue for the lower level fireplace was visible. It had been built without mortar, dry stacked inside the brick skin of the chimney. The property disclosure stated the fireplace was unusable. I could now see why.
And still the best was yet to come. This “flue” was in use, venting the oil fired furnace. Someone, perhaps Uncle Bob, had installed outside the house a metal chimney from the furnace vent to this hollowed out chimney. Notice the metal vent is horizontal. I guess no one told this person that a chimney should be vertical. This is just plain wrong.
Perspective is all about where you are in relation to what your seeing. One can draw may different conclusions based on where their standing. Seeing something from many angles provides a clearer, over all picture.