Every house with a chimney needs an inspection of this structure at least once every three years. Why? Chimneys allow smoke and dangerous gases to safely vent to the outdoors from a fireplace, wood stove, or a fireplace insert fueled by gas. When something goes wrong with a chimney system, the potential consequences include exposure to unsafe air inside the home and the possibility of a house fire.
Additionally, the sale of a property often includes a requirement for a chimney inspection, and inspection of chimneys is a vital safety measure after certain types of natural disasters, such as an earthquake.
Types of Chimney Inspections
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) defines three levels of chimney inspection:
- Level 1chimney inspections involve the routine examination of easily accessible parts of a chimney in regular use. The inspector examines the fundamental structural soundness of the chimney, looking for obvious safety hazards such as obstructions and cracks in the masonry and flue system. Chimney sweeps can perform this service when they clean the chimney.
- Level 2inspections of chimneys are needed when the type of fuel used in the system changes, for example, when a wood burning fireplace is converted to the use of gas as a fuel. Level 2 inspections are also needed when a property changes ownership and when damage has occurred affecting the chimney. Level 2 inspections utilize a digital camera to probe the interior of the system.
- Level 3chimney inspections involve the most comprehensive examination and may include removal of the chimney crown, the opening of the flue wall, or removal of other building components to thoroughly inspect the interior of the structure.
Hiring a Qualified Chimney Inspector
Whichever level of chimney inspection you need at your home, always hire an experienced, certified, and qualified chimney inspector to perform this critical service. Contact us today; the safety of your home and family depend on it.