Do You Like Exposed Brick? It can be Deadly

by Ivan Mose

A couple of weeks after last Christmas I received a phone call from a young man who told me he had a terrible smell in his apartment and could I come over as soon as possible and take a look. I am a building inspector so smells usually mean drains, mouldy basements and the odd rat or two. A little questioning and I started to build a case. Last summer Dany, his wife Lauren and baby moved into a newly renovated condominium apartment in the plateau Montreal area, their dream home. Everything about the place was perfect; or so it had seemed, until the start of the heating season when this odd acrid smell took over the apartment, getting worse by the day. It eventually got so bad that they had to flee and move in with some friends. This sounded like an interesting problem so I invited one of my inspectors to join me.

Here are the facts:

The building was originally a triplex built around 1910 and converted into three condominium apartments. Theirs was the middle unit. The lower unit was heated with a gas fired boiler in the crawl space, using the original chimney to exhaust the flue gases. During renovations some of the interior of the masonry structure had been exposed, including the chimney breast, as is the current fashion with in these older buildings. The exposed chimney appeared wet.

Exposed Bricks the key

Any ideas yet what the problem might be?

Paul and I headed for the crawl space to check out the boiler. We found a 60 year old boiler that had been converted from oil to gas about 25 years ago. We checked the flue clean out and found it to be completely clogged with plant debris, and removed at least a garbage bag full of rotting birds and squirrels nests. With mirror and flashlight we found there was no liner in the chimney. All we saw was bricks.

That’s the problem! The flue gases were migrating through the bricks of the chimney, and since the plaster had been removed on the inside, were entering the apartment. Flue gasses contain a lot of water vapour, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and few other compounds. Carbon monoxide being the most deadly of them all. Dany did the right thing in moving out it may have saved his and his families lives. We went outside and saw this huge moisture stain on the outside of the building. As one can see in the picture it extends from the ground up three stories to the top of the building.

Next step was to turn off the boiler and call the gas company. They came the next day and installed a liner. Since then the smell is going away and Dany, Lauren and baby we able to return home.

Mose Home Inspection Services
4.9
Based on 339 reviews
powered by Google
Lay Chan Wee
Lay Chan Wee
01:19 31 Aug 21
I was impressed with the service provided by Rui Su. He was organized, explained in detail area that I am not familiar... with. He provided a good report. I will recommend him if you need home inspection.read more
Mary Jane Caro
Mary Jane Caro
14:25 27 Aug 21
I am always pleased to recommend Carol Mose from Mose Home Inspection Services to my clients who have had offers... accepted on residential real estate properties. She is knowledgeable, thorough, provides clear explanations, and delivers comprehensive reports.read more
Massimo Pannunzio
Massimo Pannunzio
22:05 25 Aug 21
Michael has got to be on of the best home inspectors in all of Quebec. It was amazing working with him and he had my... best interest at heart when making a life changing decision. He made sure I had all the answers and made it easy to work with him. I will be using Mose inspection for any moment that I need an inspection done that's for sure!read more
Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee
19:14 16 Jun 21
Amazing experience with Carol Mose who helped me with a pre-purchase inspection! She was very approachable and... observant, and informed me of all her first impressions on-site. This gave me greater understanding of any conditions as I was able to ask any quick questions on the spot. Her reports are the most thorough that I've seen and include diagrams to help explain what any physical signs mean and potential consequences. Could not have asked for a better inspector!read more
Maeghan Banks
Maeghan Banks
15:38 14 Jun 21
Carol was wonderful to work with for our pre-purchase inspection. She was professional, thorough and communicative,... taking the time to explain her findings as we went through the house. After the inspection, we felt we had clear knowledge of the condition of the house (both pros and cons), allowing us to move forward with the purchase with confidence. Highly recommend!read more
Ryan Chalupovitsch
Ryan Chalupovitsch
13:43 01 Jun 21
Carol Mose is the best home inspector in the business. Approachable and extremely knowledgeable. She did an... inspection for me and really took the time to explain her findings and help me understand the home I was looking to purchase. Cannot recommend her enough. Don’t hesitate.read more
Elisabeth Faure
Elisabeth Faure
21:16 29 Apr 21
This is the second time I have used MOSE, and they are always really amazing. Very nice, very professional. they came... to have a look at my roof and let me know if we were due for a repair - I was very satisfied with everything and would recommend them to anybody!read more
Hannah S
Hannah S
22:05 16 Apr 21
I had a great experience with Mose home inspection. My husband and I are first time homebuyers and so had a ton of... questions about the process. Everyone we talked with was really informative and helpful. Michael was our inspector and was phenomenal. The inspection was very thorough and he explained everything in detail with realistic next steps for us to take. We came out of the inspection feeling really informed. Plus, he is just an absolute delight! He had very contagious enthusiasm and made the inspection a really positive experience. Would highly recommend!read more
Gabriel Lukuc
Gabriel Lukuc
03:05 16 Apr 21
Michael was amazing. He took the time to explain to us what’s really important and the reasoning behind it. We’re not... very handy nor savvy when it comes to home construction so we really appreciate him taking the time to explain to us all aspects of the inspection. Also, Michael was friendly, professional and timely; he provided the report over a holiday and a weekend.read more
Stephanie Ballard
Stephanie Ballard
14:24 19 Mar 21
MOSE is the best in the business. Once again we were happy with their inspection services - they are professional,... friendly and knowledgeable. Would not hesitate to recommend to friends and family (and have)!read more
Rodrigo Morales
Rodrigo Morales
18:27 10 Sep 20
Home inspection
Next Reviews