You may know that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you have your chimney swept and inspected once a year, but do you know that there are three levels of chimney inspections? Depending on your situation and the condition of your fireplace and chimney system, each of these levels serves to ensure your chimney and venting components are functioning properly and safely. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties are trained and experienced in cleaning and inspecting all sorts of chimneys. We are often asked exactly what a chimney inspection entails, and we would like to share this information with you.
Why do I need an annual chimney inspection?
This yearly chimney checkup is essential in preventing hazardous situations. When Aelite Chimney Specialties performs annual chimney inspections, our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps looks for creosote deposits and other blockages of your chimney. We then will sweep your chimney to clean out any debris.
What are the three levels of chimney inspections?
According to the CSIA, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) adopted three specific levels of chimney inspections into code NFPA 211, the standard for chimneys, fireplaces, vents, and solid fuel burning appliances. The three levels are as follows:
- Level 1: The most common of the chimney inspection levels, a Level 1 inspection is simply a visual check of your fireplace and chimney that does not involve using special tools. Our chimney sweeps will look for damage, obstructions, creosote buildup and soot.
- Level 2: You will need a Level 2 inspection if you have made any changes to your chimney and venting system like installing a new heating appliance. This level of inspection is also required when you buy a new home and if you have experienced an earthquake or a dramatic weather event like a hurricane or a tornado. Our certified chimney sweeps will do a visual chimney check as well as examine the roof, attic, and crawl space and use special tools, which include a video scanner.
- Level 3: Resembling a demolition job, a Level 3 chimney inspection may involve tearing down and rebuilding the walls of your chimney. If you have experienced a chimney fire, this level of inspection is a necessity.
What exactly do you look for when you perform a Level 1 inspection?
The main thing our sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties will examine is the condition of the walls of your chimney. They should appear smooth. Bumps, ridges, slick and bubbly surfaces, and thick, scale-like buildup all indicate creosote. We can scrape the walls with a small screwdriver to discover the exact thickness of any creosote deposits. A compound that naturally forms during the combustion and condensation processes, creosote is extremely hazardous as it is highly flammable and can ignite a serious chimney fire. We will be sure to remove all creosote deposits during the post-inspection sweeping.
Have more questions about chimney inspections? Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties to ask us what you need to know and to schedule your annual chimney inspection and sweeping.