Chimney Inspections are Recommended Annually
Remember – annual chimney inspections can prevent fires and CO poisonings. Did you know that storks nesting in chimneys were once believed to bring good luck, according to European folklore? The fact is bird nests in chimneys – or blockages of any kind in your fireplace – are nothing short of bad news. These obstructions can cause smoking problems, chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 18,300 residential fires in the United States originating in chimneys, fireplaces and solid fuel appliances in 1998. These fires resulted in 160 personal injuries, 40 deaths and $158.2 million in property damage.
Virtually all of these fires were preventable according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a non-profit institution dedicated to public and chimney professional education. Both CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association recommend a yearly chimney inspection to help prevent these hazards.
Why Should I Get a Yearly Chimney Inspection?
Many Charlotte, NC homeowners think their chimneys only need to be cleaned and inspected if they burn wood in their fireplaces or wood stoves. But almost all heating appliances, whether they burn gas, oil, wood or coal, rely on the chimney to safely carry toxic gases produced by the heating system out of the house. A carbon monoxide detector can warn homeowners of potential poisoning after the deadly gas has already entered the living area. However, an annual chimney check can help prevent carbon monoxide from entering the home in the first place.
It’s amazing how, every fall, homeowners shift into home-improvement mode. They clean gutters, garages and basements getting everything prepared for the winter and the upcoming holiday season. The one thing they forget and don’t usually inspect, repair or clean is their chimneys, which makes little sense considering the potential for damage to both property and lives!
An annual chimney inspection by one of our North Carolina Certified Chimney Sweeps is a modest investment that can reduce the danger of chimney fires or carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. Our Certified Chimney Sweeps have earned their credential by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimneys and venting systems.
In fact, when chimney fires occur, many insurance investigators rely on Certified Chimney Sweeps to determine whether a fire originated in – or damaged – the chimney system. Charlotte, NC homeowners can rest assured that we have highly trained Certified Chimney Technicians on staff that can properly diagnose any chimney-related issues you might have.
How often should I have my chimney inspected?
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that all fireplace and chimney inspections be conducted on a yearly basis. In addition to this recommendation, homeowners should also discontinue use and have an immediate inspection conducted if your system is affected by any of the following circumstances listed below:
- Chimney Fire
- Weather Event – Lightning, Wind or Water Damage
- Home Purchase, should be conducted during Home Inspection
- Insertion or Removal of Gas Logs
What is an “Internal Video Evaluation?”
An Internal Video Evaluation is a process in which a camera system is inserted into the chimney to inspect the internal condition of the chimney. This process can be done via the rooftop or from the firebo and provides a more comprehensive inspection of the chimney’s internal conditions. Once in place, the technician will discuss the findings as displayed on the TV monitor with the homeowner. Not all chimney inspections require a video scan. If there are certain indications given, or if the technician suspects a specific problem, then a video scan can be conducted. All of our service trucks are equipped with Internal Video Scanning Equipment.
What is a Level 1 Inspection?
- Recommended if you have not changed – and do not plan to change — your heating appliance or system.
- Considered appropriate during annual service visit.
- Technicians do not need to use tools to open or remove doors, panels, or coverings in order to examine the chimney exterior and interior.
- Technicians may need commonly available tools to examine portions of the appliance and the chimney connection and the evaluation will not disrupt the chimney structure or finish.
What is a Level 2 Inspection?
- Required when any change is made to your system – for example, before the flue is relined, or when you replace an appliance with another of a dissimilar type or efficiency level.
- Required upon the sale or transfer of property.
- Suggested when an operating malfunction or external event is likely to have caused damage to the chimney or appliance.
- Does not require the removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure.
- Includes all services appropriate in a Level I inspection, plus the examination of accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior, including attics, crawl spaces, and basements.
- Includes inspection by video scanning.
What is a Level 3 Inspection?
- Conducted only after a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection indicates a hazard in concealed portions of the chimney and flue.
- Involves the removal, and possibly destruction, of portions of the chimney or building structure, as necessary.
- Requires special tools and access to concealed areas of the chimney and flue.