A fireplace brings to mind images of comfort, warmth and safety. There is little that compares to the relaxing feeling of sitting by a warm fire in the comfort of your home on a cold night. But, as responsible homeowners, we must never take fire safety for granted. Before you use your fireplace, it is critical that you have a chimney inspection so that you can be sure that your chimney is not a fire hazard.
The following inspection levels have been classified by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and they are the standard upon which certified chimney sweeps base their work.
Level 1 Chimney Inspection
A level 1 chimney inspection is the most common type of chimney inspection. If you use your fireplace regularly without experiencing any problems, a level 1 inspection is appropriate. During a level 1 inspection, we examine the readily accessible portions of your chimney. We will perform a visual inspection of your chimney and flue to make sure that the basic structure is intact and there are no visible signs of damage. We will verify that there are no obstructions or combustible materials in your chimney.
Level 2 Chimney Inspection
If you are making any changes in the way you use your chimney, such as changing the type of fuel used, relining the flue, or if you’ve had any accidents or external events that may have caused damage, a level 2 chimney inspection is needed. If you’ve had a building fire, chimney fire or an earthquake, you will need to have a level 2 inspection performed. A level 2 inspection of the chimney is required before you sell your property.
A level 2 chimney inspection includes all of the visual examination included in a level 1 inspection, plus some additional work including examination of the chimney structure in the attic, crawlspace and other accessible areas. A video camera is used to examine the flue and check for cracks or damage to the joints in the chimney’s structure.