Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Inspections
“How important is a chimney inspection?”
We hear this question a lot from residents in the tri-state area of Southwest Wisconsin, North Illinois and East Iowa. It is a smart question to ask. We all like to cut corners when we can to save money. An annual inspection is one expense you shouldn’t skip.
Carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires caused by fireplaces affect thousands of people per year. Both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Chimney Safety Institute of America (NFI) agree that the best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and a house fire is an annual chimney inspection by a chimney professional.
Chimney systems are vulnerable to animal infestations, damage from weather and the high temperatures of and harsh chemicals in smoke, and corrosion. The problems these cause can easily become serious safety risks. Professional chimney technicians have the training and experience to notice warning signs and diagnosis problems an untrained eye could easily miss.
What you need to know about chimney inspections is that there are 3 levels. The level of chimney inspection that you need depends on the condition of your chimney. If your chimney is in good condition, a level 1 inspection is all you will need.
Level 1 Inspection
A level 1 inspection includes:
– A chimney cleaning: removal of creosote buildup (a combustible chemical compound produced by smoke), smoke stains, and obstructions like animal nests, animal carcasses, sticks, leaves, or other lawn debris.
– A visual examination of the inside and outside of the chimney for signs of leaks, airflow problems, obstructions, or damage.
Level 2 Inspection
Level 2 inspections aren’t as common as Level 1 inspections. The purpose of this inspection is to get a closer look at your chimney. Usually, it is only recommended if warning signs of a potential problem were discovered during a Level 1 inspection. It is also smart to schedule a Level 2 inspection if you are planning to install a new heating appliance, like a fireplace insert, or are buying / selling a house.
A level 2 inspection includes:
– A video examination of your chimney that records what the flue lining or interior chimney walls look like. (You should receive a copy along with a written report).
– A visual inspection of hard to reach parts of your chimney accessed through a crawl space, attic, etc.
Level 3 Inspection
Level 3 inspections are the least common because they require the removal of sections of the chimney. The process is expensive and invasive. You should only schedule a Level 3 inspection if it was recommended by a NFI-certified chimney technician.
A level 3 inspection includes:
– Removal of chimney components, like a chimney cap or chimney crown, or sections of the chimney to get a closer look at a part of the chimney that is damaged.
– Reconstruction of part or parts of the chimney.
We hope you never have to schedule a Level 3 inspection or suffer from a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. The best way to make sure you avoid these is to take care of your chimney every year by scheduling a Level 1 inspection.
Keep your home and loved ones safe! Give us a call to schedule your annual chimney inspection!