The Importance of Annual Inspections

Your chimney systems are an important part of your home heating system, whether you burn in them or not! The National Fire Protection Association recommends an annual evaluation of all chimneys, fireplaces and vents. For safe and efficient operation, your chimneys should be checked annually by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® and cleaned as needed. Each year unsafe chimney cause significant numbers of injuries and deaths and account for more than $200 million in property losses. Make chimney examinations a regular part of your home maintenance schedule. Don't become a statistic!

Level 1 Inspections

If your appliance or your venting system has not changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a Level 1 inspection is a minimum requirement. In a Level 1 Inspection your technician will examine the readily accessible portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. We will be looking for the basic soundness of the structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections. We will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.

Level 2 Inspections

A Level 2 inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operation malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events as well as weather events are all indicators that these level of inspection is warranted. A Level 2 inspection is also required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape of or material in, the flue, or replacement or addition of an appliance of dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency.

A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl spaces and basements. It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations. A Level 2 inspection is a more in-depth inspection than a Level 1.

Level 3 Inspection

When Level 1 or Level 2 inspections suggest a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without special tools to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue, a Level 3 inspection is recommended.

A Level 3 inspection includes all the areas and items checked in a Level1 or Level 2 inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary. Removal of components (i.e., chimney crown, interior chimney wall) shall be required only when necessary to gain access to areas that are the subject of the inspection. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.

....Interior Video Inspections

In the past, the examination of the chimney interior involved either an ineffective flashlight and mirror or the expensive disassembly of part of the chimney to see problem areas. Now with the Chim-Scan® video inspection service, it is easy to obtain an accurate evaluation of your chimney's interior in a non destructive way. We will be able to show you these precarious conditions, if they exist:

  • Improper new construction
  • Chimney fire damage
  • Improper prefabricated chimney connection
  • Deterioration from gas appliance connections
  • Cracks, even hairline cracks, in flue liners
  • Broken or missing tile liners and mortar joints
  • Deterioration of the smoke shelf or damper
  • "Quick-Fixed" thimble holes
  • Hidden Breechings
  • Nests, limbs and other blockages

What is the most active part of your home yet never moves?

It's the chimney, 24/ 7/365 thousands of cubic feet of air travel through it, some clean some not so clean. No homeowner should assume their chimney can be used without a thorough examination, both exterior and interior. Rain, flue gases, and freezing moisture cause erosion and deterioration to chimneys. Breaks in the chimney liner even small ones—can re-duce the chimneys ability to vent all the products of combustion, allowing combustion gases and condensation to enter the home structure.

While viewing the Chim-Scan® screen from the hearth or chimney base, homeowners can view the condition of their fireplace and/or chimney. We can point out vital information about the chimney's interior condition. In gas and oil central heating systems early detection of condensates within the chimney can help prevent additional costly home repairs. Seeing the interior of your chimney will give you added peace of mind and a general knowledge of your chimney system.

So ask for it by name, "I want a Chim-Scan® done on my chimney!"