Why Chimney Inspections & Evaluations Matter
Chimney evaluations are broken down into 1 of 3 levels of various detailed inspections of the chimney system. Getting your fireplace inspected from crown to firebox can prevent both fires and CO Poisonings. Thus, having this done is more important than you might initially realize for the safety of your family and those living around you.
- Nests in chimneys cause dangerous blockages resulting in a smoking chimney or chimney fire.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in your home if your fireplace is not vented properly or there are cracks in the flue.
- Between 2014-2018, three out of every 10 house fires were caused by heating equipment, and the majority of these occurred in fireplaces or chimneys.
The Good News:
- Virtually all of these problems are preventable
The National Fire Protection Association concentrates their efforts to inform and issue notices that keep the public safe from potential fire. The CSIA (Chimney Association of America) is a non-profit devoted to educating the public and training chimney professionals about best practices when servicing and maintaining chimney systems. Both of these respected institutions recommend annual inspections as a way to prevent these possible fire hazards lurking in your appliance.
It is unfortunate how many people neglect getting their fireplaces and wood stoves cleaned and inspected on a regular basis. The fact will always remain that if you burn wood in your fireplaces or wood stove, you will need to have it swept and inspected at least on a yearly basis. And it’s not just wood! If you burn gas, oil or coal, you rely on your chimney to carry out toxic gases from your home. If the chimney is damaged in any way these gases might be venting into your home. We think you should know that!
While a carbon monoxide detector can warn you of potential poisoning, it’s after the fact. Those poisonous gases have already entered your living area. With an annual chimney checkup you can discover if carbon monoxide is entering your home through the most logical place it can: your chimney system.
But let’s face it; we are all busy these days. That’s why we ask you, whether you call us out or not, to place inspecting and cleaning your chimney as a priority on either your annual spring or fall to-do list. Having a roaring fire in the middle of your home is a potential fire hazard and needs to be done as safely as possible. It just makes sense considering the potential for damage to property and lost lives!
What We Do
The very first thing we do that you never see is make sure that all of our chimney technicians are certified by CSIA. We do this because we know having an inspection conducted by a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep means they are knowledgeable and have passed an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimneys and venting systems.
Many fire investigators know this as well and that is why they call on local CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweeps to determine whether a fire originated in – or damaged – the chimney system. That’s just one reason we have all our techs go through this rigorous certification. It should also let you know that getting a chimney tech with this type of training means you have the confidence of a professional working on your system.
The 3 Levels of Safety Chimney Inspections
Level 1 Inspection
- If you have not changed and do not plan to change your heating appliance or system.
- Appropriate during annual service visit and during flue cap installation.
- There is no need to use tools to open or remove doors, panels, or coverings, in order to examine the chimney exterior and interior.
- Technicians may need commonly available tools to examine portions of the appliance and the chimney connection and the evaluation will not disrupt the chimney structure or finish.
Level 2 Inspection
- Is required when any change is made to your chimney system – for example, before the flue is relined, or when you replace one fireplace appliance with another.
- Is required upon the sale or transfer of property.
- Suggested when an operating malfunction or external event is likely to have caused damage to the chimney or fireplace appliance.
- Does not require the removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure.
- Includes all services appropriate in a Level I inspection, plus the examination of accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior, including attics crawl spaces and basements.
- Includes a visual inspection by video scanning.
Level 3 Inspection – Requires a Quote
- If a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection indicates a hazard in concealed portions of the chimney and flue then a level 3 is initiated.
- It will involve the removal, and possibly destruction, of portions of the chimney or building structure, as necessary.
- It can require special tools and access to concealed areas of the chimney and flue.