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What is a Chimney Inspection and How Important are Annual Inspections?

Fire is a common source of heat, and it’s also fascinating. Part of the unexplainable joy of warming by a fire in the fireplace is watching the dancing flames. To experience this pleasure in your home, a chimney is needed. Although chimneys are also mysteries to most people, they are routinely ignored by many homeowners. Oftentimes, people simply don’t recognize that annual chimney inspections are recommended by every team of leading fire safety experts. Find out below why inspections are crucial as well as an answer to the question ‘what is a chimney inspection?’

How Chimney Inspections are Essential to Fire Safety

inspectionThe latest multi-year statistics on fatalities linked to chimneys show that approximately 20 people per year die in fires that involved the chimney or fireplace. There are also approximately 22,300 residential structure fires each year related to the chimney and fireplace. The majority of these fatalities and fires could have been prevented with proper chimney maintenance. Usually, steps in maintenance occur as a direct result of a chimney inspection.

There are a number of common types of chimney damage and other problems discovered during a chimney inspection, some of which put a home and its occupants at risk. If there is damage to the chimney lining or to fire bricks at the back of the fireplace, combustible parts of the home could be exposed to extreme heat, resulting in a life-threatening home fire.  Chimney obstruction or blockage is another common issue that could expose the home to danger if proper action isn’t taken. Obstruction of the chimney can cause two primary hazards, as follows:

Danger #1: Toxic Fumes Inside the Home

First, blockage in the chimney prevents combustion gases from adequately exiting through the chimney. As a result, toxic fumes can enter the home. Carbon monoxide, which is known as the “Silent Killer” is one of those toxic gases. Carbon monoxide is odorless, invisible, tasteless, and deadly. If a carbon monoxide detector doesn’t provide a warning, people are usually unable to escape the hazard of the toxic gases from a fire.

Danger #2: A Chimney Fire

Secondly, chimney obstruction is a chimney hazard that can cause a destructive chimney fire. The obstruction may be caused by creosote in the chimney flue. Each time wood is burned in a fireplace, at least a small amount of highly flammable creosote is deposited onto the chimney liner. If the chimney isn’t cleaned routinely, there is an ever-increasing chance that embers from a fire will ignite a chimney fire.

If tree branches, leaves, birds’ nests, or other types of combustible debris are in the chimney, the debris can ignite when the fireplace is used. This type of chimney obstruction can also lead to an intense chimney fire. These are extremely dangerous fires that often destroy the chimney flue and/or result in a home fire.

What is a Chimney Inspection?

chimney inspectionA chimney inspection is a Level I, Level II, or Level III check of a chimney conducted by a certified chimney professional. The purpose of each type of chimney inspection is to accurately determine both the condition of the chimney and whether chimney repair maintenance is needed. Details of each type of chimney inspection are found on the Chimney Safety Institute of America website.

Contact Chimney Specialists Inc.

If you need a chimney inspection, it is crucial that you schedule the work with a professional, certified chimney technician. At Chimney Specialists Inc., all of our chimney sweeps are CSIA-certified and have the qualifications to conduct a Level I, Level II, and Level III chimney inspection. When chimney repair is needed, our chimney experts can get the work done correctly the first time. We care about your safety. See contact information below to schedule your annual chimney inspection, preferably before winter so that it’s safe to watch crackling flames to your heart’s content

Chimney Specialists Inc.

869 Main Street, Highland, WI

Phone – (608) 929-4887 / Toll Free (800) 395-6660

Dubuque Fireplace & Patio

925 Century Drive, Dubuque, Iowa

Phone – (563) 582-5156

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