Chimney Inspections: What are they and why are they important?

Custom Hearth, Fireplaces and Stoves is proud to employ our very own Ty Eldred, a CSIA certified chimney inspector and sweep at our Port Orchard location who also just passed his NFI Certification exam in wood burning products.

In keeping with our education theme, we thought it would be good to break this new service down for you:

What is a chimney inspection?

The NFPA 211 code breaks chimney inspections into three levels, aptly named Level I, Level II and Level III.

Level I

A Level I chimney inspection is a visual inspection of all exposed components of the chimney system from appliance to roof venting. We look for safety hazards, potential future issues, code violations and other concerns. Upon completion of the inspection, the technician writes up a report which is then professionally prepared and e-mailed to you with pictures of potential problem areas and recommendations for repairs. We are qualified to handle most of these repairs, but we may need to refer you to a specialist, such as a mason, for the more complex problems. A Level I inspection is recommended to occur annually.

Level II

While Level II inspections include all the aspects of a Level I inspection, they are more in-depth, requiring the use of a specialized camera designed to attach to a chimney sweeping rod, that sends video and still pictures of the interior of a chimney to a computer. This inspection is recommended before the sale of a home occurs. This inspection can catch all the potential issues, hazards and code violations of the Level I, along with the added peace of mind that the entire system, inside and out, is in safe, working condition. Again, once the report is written up, it is professionally prepared and e-mailed to you along with pictures and videos, if applicable, along with our recommendations for repairs.

Level III

A Level III inspection includes all of the components of the first two levels, but usually requires visual inspection of interior venting components, which means removing chimneys, walls and chases to assess damage. This inspection is recommended after a catastrophic event such as a chimney fire or earthquake.

How often should I have an inspection / sweep performed?

NFPA 211 recommends having a Level I inspection done annually and a Level II inspection performed when selling your home.

Why is it important to have an inspection performed?

Many do-it-yourselfers have taken it upon themselves to do their own chimney sweeping, which is perfectly fine. However, they are often not trained to spot code violations, safety hazards, potential future issues, etc. Even if you’d rather sweep your own chimney, you should still have a professional inspect it from time to time. It is extremely easy to damage chimney liners if you don’t know what you are doing which could be causing all kinds of problems and future dangers.

We hope this helps explains our new chimney inspection service, available now at a discount introductory rate. Call today to have your wood burning appliance inspected so you’re not out in the cold this winter!