Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Chimney Sweep

The Basics of Chimney Inspections

Chimney inspections are a necessary step in maintaining the safety of your home. Chimney Inspection Charleston SC prevents harmful gases from being released into the air and is important if you plan to sell your home.

Chimney SweepA level two chimney inspection will require the inspector to go into a crawl space or attic to examine the interior surfaces of the chimney structure and flues. A level two inspection is also recommended after a chimney fire, dramatic weather event, or operation malfunction.

When a chimney sweep does a Level 1 inspection, they check the readily accessible portions of the chimney and fireplace system. They examine the basic structure of the chimney, and if there is an appliance in the fireplace, they also inspect the venting system. They will verify that the system is sound and free of obstructions or combustible deposits.

If a fireplace and chimney have not changed since the last inspection, a Level 1 inspection may be sufficient. However, a professional should always perform an annual cleaning, no matter the size of the fireplace or the age of the system. The technician will also place a tarp down at the worksite, to avoid tracking soot and dust into your home. A chimney is a highly flammable and dangerous structure, and the soot, dust, and creosote buildup left behind by fireplace usage can be hazardous to your family’s health.

During a Level 2 chimney inspection, the fireplace technician will do everything a Level 1 chimney sweep does and they will also use a video scanning device to examine the interior surfaces of the chimney flue. This will include examining the joints, cracks and condition of the flue lining. The technician will also check proper clearances from combustibles in accessible areas of the attics, crawl spaces and basements.

A Level 2 inspection is the correct choice if there have been changes to the chimney system since the last inspection. This includes a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape or material of the flue (i.e. relining), a new or replacement fireplace and/or the addition of an appliance with a different fire rating, input or efficiency. A Level 2 inspection is also recommended if you are selling your home and require a real estate chimney inspection and if there has been a significant weather event or building malfunction that may have damaged the chimney.

A Level 3 inspection involves more in-depth examination of your chimney and fireplace systems than a Level 1 or Level 2. This includes using specialized tools to remove parts of the chimney, if necessary, to access concealed areas. This is often necessary when there has been serious damage, or in the case of a chimney fire.

Level 2 Inspection

A level 2 chimney inspection is the right choice if you’ve made changes to your fireplace and/or chimney system. These can include a change in fuel type, a flue liner replacement or a new appliance of a different input rating or efficiency. A level two inspection is also the recommended option if there’s a change in ownership of your property or an external event that might have caused damage (such as a tornado, hurricane or earthquake).

In addition to everything included in a level 1 inspection, a level 2 inspection includes a visual examination with video scanning of the internal surfaces and joints of your flue liners using a closed circuit camera. This enables our technicians to identify areas of deterioration, blockages or other issues that might not be apparent from a walk-around exterior inspection. It also allows our techs to assess proper clearances from combustibles in accessible parts of your home, such as attics, basements and crawl spaces.

It’s also common to include a level 2 inspection when preparing for the sale or transfer of a property. This helps you ensure that the potential buyer has an accurate picture of the condition of your chimney and venting systems. It also protects you from the possibility of a claim by the buyer that your system has been damaged, if it’s not up to code.

During a level two inspection, our technicians will use special tools to open doors, panels or coverings so they can get a closer look at your chimney, flue and surrounding areas. This may include removing drywall, or even part of your ceiling in some cases. We also utilize closed circuit cameras to examine hard-to-reach sections of your chimney and venting systems.

Level 2 inspections typically take up to a few hours to complete, depending on the size of your chimney and the amount of creosote buildup. We may need to remove a section of the chimney’s lining in order to complete a full chimney cleaning as well. This is necessary if our technician finds a substantial amount of buildup or obstructions that are not removable with standard chimney cleaning methods.

Level 3 Inspection

A level 3 inspection includes everything from a level 1 but is much more in-depth. It involves a video scan and a closer look at the internal surfaces of your chimney and flue. It’s important to note that this type of inspection is very invasive. It requires the use of special demolition tools to open up doors, panels, and coverings. This is done so the chimney sweep can examine the interior of the chimney more carefully.

A camera is inserted into the flue lining to check for signs of damage, deterioration, water intrusion, or any other issues. The interior chimney walls are also inspected. This level of inspection is needed if any changes have been made to the fireplace or chimney since the last inspection. These changes include adding a new fuel source or changing the shape of or material in the flue. It is also required if there has been an operation malfunction or external event such as an earthquake that may have caused structural damage.

In addition to this, the roof and surrounding areas are surveyed for safety and proper clearances from combustible materials in accessible locations. A visual scan of the chimney and flue is done as well. This is done to identify any masonry defects, and the drafting of the fireplace is evaluated. Any issues with the drafting or safety are reported to the homeowner and estimates for repair are provided.

It’s important to have a level 2 inspection if you are considering selling your home. This type of inspection is a requirement in some states, but it’s also a great way to show potential buyers that your chimney is in good condition.

The cost of a level 2 chimney inspection will depend on how big your chimney is and how long it’s been since the last cleaning. It will also depend on how many flues you have and how thick the creosote is inside.

It’s important to keep in mind that chimneys can collapse if not maintained properly. Having an annual chimney inspection is the best way to ensure that your chimney is safe and in working order. It will also help you save money in the long run by catching small problems before they turn into bigger ones.

Contact Us

If you suspect that there is a problem with your fireplace or chimney, contact us to discuss the situation. A professional inspection by a certified chimney sweep is the best way to evaluate what is really going on inside your chimney and fireplace. Chimneys are complex structures that are difficult for the average homeowner to see clearly.

For example, a crack in the chimney liner may be too small to be spotted from the ground or even when standing in front of the fireplace. A chimney sweep is trained to look for this type of problem, as well as internal issues like a deteriorated flue lining that can’t be seen without the use of specialized equipment.

Chimney sweeps also check the masonry work on the outside of your chimney for damage, which often goes unnoticed by the average homeowner. This includes the crown, which is a downward-sloping concrete, stone or metal overhang at the top of the chimney that directs rainwater away from the masonry structure to prevent erosion. A cracked crown can allow water to erode the chimney exterior and slip into the flue, degrading the flue liner over time. A masonry pro can repair or replace a cracked crown to prevent this damaging water erosion.

In addition, a professional chimney sweep will evaluate the condition of the firebox, which is where flammable byproducts like smoke and unburned wood travel to. Damage to the firebox can compromise the safety of your home and should be repaired as soon as possible.

A chimney inspection will also look for creosote buildup, a thick flammable coating that can be caused by poor burning of fuel. A chimney sweep can identify excessive creosote buildup and recommend a professional chimney cleaning to remove the dangerous substance from your chimney.

A level two chimney inspection is recommended after a dramatic weather event, a change in fuel type or after the purchase of a new home. This type of inspection is typically more thorough than a level one inspection. In addition to a thorough visual inspection of the fireplace and chimney, a qualified chimney sweep will likely visit the roof, attic or crawl space to assess the state of the chimney structure. A chimney video inspection may also be used in conjunction with this level of inspection to examine interior joints and surfaces more thoroughly.