Tag: chimney repair

The Different Levels of Chimney Inspection

Whether you have a fireplace or not, you need to keep your chimney and venting system in good condition. To do so, you must schedule regular maintenance and inspections by a certified chimney sweep.

A thorough chimney inspection should include a visual assessment of the chimney exterior, roof and attic or crawl space. It should also examine the damper, flue interior and fireplace. Contact Chimney Inspection Baltimore now!

When it comes to chimney inspection, there are different levels of service that professional chimney sweeps offer. A level 1 chimney inspection is the most basic type of examination that you can receive. During this examination, a chimney sweep will look at the readily-accessible portions of your fireplace and chimney. They won’t need any specialized tools to do this, usually just a flashlight or screwdriver. During this inspection, they will be looking for basic things like whether your chimney is structurally sound, the presence of combustible deposits, and whether your fireplace has been properly vented.

A level 2 chimney inspection is more in-depth than a level 1. During this examination, a professional chimney sweep will inspect your entire system including the voids inside of your fireplace and chimney, and the portions that protrude from your roof. They will also examine your flue opening and vents to make sure that they are free from combustible deposits, obstructions and blockages. They will also check that your chimney lining is intact, and that it’s installed correctly. In addition to examining the readily-accessible portions of your fireplace, chimney and chimney, they will also look into your attic and crawl space. They may also use a camera to examine parts of your chimney that are normally hidden from view.

The need for a level 2 chimney inspection can be triggered by changes to your chimney or fireplace system, such as the installation of a new fuel source (like switching from wood to gas), the installation of a new lining, or by a change in the condition of your chimney. A level 2 chimney inspection is also required when you’re planning to sell your home.

Occasionally, a level 3 inspection will be needed. This more extensive inspection will involve the removal of components of your chimney or building structure to access concealed areas of the fireplace and chimney. This type of chimney inspection is usually only performed when a level 1 or 2 chimney examination indicates a serious hazard. Less than 1% of inspections require a level 3 chimney evaluation.

Level 2 Inspection

Level 2 chimney inspections involve everything that a Level 1 does but also requires the use of specialized video scanning equipment. Using this piece of equipment allows your chimney sweep to see problems that can’t be easily seen from a visual inspection with a flashlight, pliers or screwdriver. The camera can be inserted into openings in the flue to examine the inner surfaces of the flue and the joints of all of the flue liners that are incorporated into your chimney. Using this equipment does not require the removal of any permanently attached portions of your home’s building structure or chimney and no demolition is necessary in order to gain access.

There are a few reasons why you might need to have this type of chimney inspection done. The most common reason is when there has been a change to the fireplace system, such as changing the fuel source or installing a new insert. This can help identify if changes to the chimney are needed to improve drafting and safety. A level two inspection is also recommended before making any alterations to your chimney or fireplace.

Getting a level two inspection is also a good idea if you are selling your home. Having this inspection completed can ensure that you are not selling your home with hidden errors that may have been overlooked by a standard home inspector or by the previous owner.

Chimney sweeping technicians have the training and experience to find problems that might not be easily discovered by the average home inspector. This can include cracking, chipping or splaying of the chimney bricks as well as any excessive deposits of creosote along the flue walls. Having a level two chimney inspection performed can make sure that you are selling your home with accurate information about the condition of your chimney.

Although a level 2 inspection is the least invasive, it is not without its risks. If a dangerous or potentially dangerous problem is found during this examination, you will need to have a level 3 chimney inspection done in order to properly evaluate the damage and determine the correct steps for repairs. Level 3 inspections involve the most invasive form of chimney inspection, which includes more in-depth incursions into hard to reach areas of your attic and crawl space as well as a full removal of a portion of your chimney.

Level 3 Inspection

Previously, the extent of inspections were left up to the technician’s discretion, but changes were made to code NFPA 211 (Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances) in 2000 that now defines levels of chimney inspection. Basically, these levels give you an idea of how in-depth your chimney sweep’s work will be when inspecting your chimney.

During the level 1 inspection, your chimney sweep will be checking your flue system’s basic components and that there is adequate clearance from combustible materials. They will also look for any visible signs of damage to the structure, brickwork and joints. A video scan may be necessary to examine the inside of your chimney.

The next level, the level 2 inspection, goes a bit more in-depth. A level 2 inspection includes all of the steps involved in a level 1 inspection, plus your chimney sweep will also examine other parts of your home that are close to the chimney, like attics, crawl spaces and basements. The chimney technician will be looking for combustible materials and ensuring that your chimney system has proper clearance from these materials as well.

A level 2 inspection will also be required whenever a change is made to your chimney, including changing the fuel type, making changes to the shape and material of the flue or relining it. You will also need a level two inspection if you are getting ready to sell your home and after an external event such as a hurricane or bad storm.

Unlike the lower level inspections, a level 3 inspection requires invasive procedures such as opening and removing part of your chimney to gain access to areas of the chimney that are concealed from view. A CSIA-certified chimney sweep will only recommend a level 3 inspection when they believe that there is a serious problem or significant damage with your fireplace. It is important to note that if invasive procedures are used, the chimney sweep will take all necessary safety precautions. As you can imagine, this is a very thorough and costly inspection.

Level 4 Inspection

When a fireplace is not being used, it is important to have it inspected to make sure that animals and birds haven’t built nests in the flue pipe and that it is still structurally sound. It is also a good idea to get an inspection when you are preparing to sell your home. This is because potential buyers may be concerned about the condition of the chimney and fireplace and may want to negotiate a lower sale price if problems are discovered.

A level one inspection looks at the readily accessible areas of your chimney and fireplace including the exterior, lining, flue pipes, and fireplace insert installation. The technician will look for the presence of combustible deposits and for damage to the chimney structure, masonry or piping. A chimney sweep will also check the attic or crawl space to ensure that there are no signs of a chimney leak.

In some cases, a more in-depth chimney inspection is required. A level two inspection is more detailed than a level one and involves looking at the entire chimney including components that are not usually visible such as the chimney crown and interior chimney wall. The inspector will take a video camera down into the flue to examine the lining and for signs of deterioration.

This level of inspection is often required when there has been a change in the fireplace’s fuel type, major changes to the shape or dimensions of the chimney or flue pipe, and after certain kinds of outside events such as a hurricane or bad weather conditions. It is also required before the sale of a home and after an appliance malfunction or chimney fire.

A level three inspection is very involved and should only be done when a serious hazard is suspected. It can require the removal of parts of the chimney or home in order for the certified inspector to access hidden areas. It is a rare occurrence and only done when there are serious concerns about the safety of the chimney system. This type of inspection also includes a detailed evaluation of the chimney’s manufacturing quality and a thorough smoke and pressure tests.