Inspections for Chimney & Fireplace Systems Can Impact Your Home & Family
Chimney & Fireplace Inspections sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday living. However, it is important to stop and make that call to get a professional to come in and inspect and sweep your chimney at least once a year, no matter how much your chimney has been used or what the weather conditions. And don’t forget about your oil and gas furnace either! These appliances need annual maintenance just like your fireplaces and stoves to maintain safety for your home.
While it would make sense that if you have not used your fireplace much over the past year, you shouldn’t need an inspection, the reality is just the opposite. Birds and small animals are always looking for a place to nest or live that is dark and out of the way, and your chimney is the perfect place for them! If they bring back sticks and brush, then they could be fueling your first chimney fire.
Weather is another subject we often get asked about, but again, just because it’s been warmer than usual does not mean your fireplace or chimney system has not been compromised, which is the real reason to get your system inspected every year. What chimney sweeps are certified to do is read your chimney system for signs that let them know if there is a problem or not. If not, everything is fine and you’re on your way to some very enjoyable good times around the fire. If there is a problem, then it’s the job of the inspecting technician to let you know what they have found, show you the evidence and give you some paths to getting it back in good working order.
The Inspection Process
Because there was not always a clear cut inspection process, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) worked together to provide clear guidelines for a chimney inspection that would be acceptable to property owners and chimney professionals. These guidelines form the basis of the 3 levels of inspection that all certified chimney sweeps abide by.
3 Levels of Inspections
Level 1 is the basic level of inspection and is considered a visual inspection only. The technician examines the readily-accessible and visible portions of the chimney and venting systems and goes to the roof to check for damage that is not visible from below as long as there is access to the roof and the sweep can do it within relatively safe conditions.
Level 2 is the most common level of inspection. The chimney technician examines the readily-accessible portions of the chimney and venting systems just as he or she would do in a Level 1 inspection as well as the chimneys exterior. All accessible areas of the chimney are inspected including but not limited to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. The sweep also uses video technology to inspect the entire interior run of the flue and firebox. Then as in the Level 1, the sweep goes to the roof to check for damage that is not visible from below as long as there is access to the roof and the sweep can do it safely.
Level 3 inspections include all areas covered in a Level 1 and Level 2 inspection, as well as inspection of concealed areas to investigate known or suspected problems. If certain portions of a Level 3 inspection require destructive action to the building, our inspector will discuss these areas with you prior to the inspection.
The main thing is to remember to get your chimney inspected every year to ensure that it works properly before the first fire is started. You will rest in knowing you have done your part in keeping your family and property safe. Call us and let us show you why we are considered the #1 choice in Hampton Road.