Buying a home can be an exciting venture as you imagine your furniture in new rooms, buy new artwork, and envision future get-togethers. However, this process can also invite a lot of stress – particularly when you’re waiting to hear if your dream home has passed all the necessary inspections and safety standards.
Fortunately, working with the right people can guarantee you peace of mind as you navigate it all. For you, that means hiring a quality realtor, home inspector, and… chimney company? You know it.
Home inspectors follow a certain protocol when inspecting your home. That said, the protocol they follow doesn’t highlight the importance of rigorously assessing the status of the chimney’s interior. As a result, you may end up buying (or selling) a home with a problematic chimney – which can invite some serious problems for you or the new homeowner.
Home Inspection vs Chimney Inspection
So, what makes a home inspection different that a chimney inspection? We’ve got the lowdown on it all, specifically in regards to the fireplace system.
The main responsibility of a home inspector is to look for any possible defects in a house’s exterior and interior. Since the fireplace and chimney can invite serious problems to occupants, you may assume that this is one area the home inspector will fully and thoroughly inspect. However, when it comes to the chimney, a home inspection typically only involves checking the chimney for signs of wear and tear or switching on the fireplace’s gas to see if it’s still operable.
Unfortunately, these steps aren’t a guarantee that the fireplace system is suitable for use.
In fact, the Home Inspection Standard of Practice even says that home inspectors aren’t required to conduct the following fireplace inspections:
- Inspect the vent or flue system.
- Inspect the interior of both chimney and flue, seals or gaskets, fire doors or screens, or mantels.
- Inspect any fuel-powered device
- Determine the need for a chimney sweep.
- Conduct a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)-style inspection.
- Perform a Level 1 fireplace and chimney inspection.
Moreover, home inspectors aren’t required to test the pilot light or analyze your fireplace’s ability to properly draft. Take note that all of these things are imperative to the overall functionality of the system. They help determine whether it will run efficiency and safely, and they also play a role in the lifespan of the chimney and fireplace.
A chimney inspection is the first step to identifying any safety issues or damaged and deteriorated areas of your chimney. Additionally, a chimney inspection is a crucial diagnostic tool as it finds the root cause of performance problems.
Due to its importance, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having your vents, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected at least once a year, and has created the guidelines for three levels of chimney inspections.
- Level 1: Level one inspections involve visually checking chimney and fireplace components. But other parts of the system that aren’t readily accessible won’t be inspected. This is the standard for fireplaces that haven’t experienced any major changes or issues and that get inspected every year.
- Level 2: This level includes everything in a level one inspection, plus a detailed investigation of the entire venting system with the use of video equipment. This level is more thorough, and it’s what you’ll need during your real estate transactions.
- Level 3: A level 3 chimney inspection includes all of the processes in the first two levels, in addition to dismantling or destroying some parts of the chimney or home in order to access problematic areas of the venting system.
Importance of a Level 2 Chimney Inspection
A level 2 inspection is required in the following cases:
- When buying or selling a house with a fireplace.
- When the house is damaged due to bad weather or fire, but the chimney survived.
- When the homeowner plans to convert from one fuel source to another.
- When any major changes have been made to the system – such as relining.
During a level 2 inspection, the chimney specialist will look in the attic and/or basement to look for signs of chimney leaks or other problems that are caused by a damaged chimney. The chimney’s exterior will also be inspected at this level. The chimney expert will look for potential signs of moisture damage and, if any signs are detected or moisture is found in your venting system, repairs will be required.
Additionally, a specialized internal video camera will be used so the tech can get a close-up view of the flue from top to bottom. The purpose of the camera is to find any flue liner damage, buildup, or other concerns that can be easily missed in the level 1 inspection.
If you’re the home seller, this level of inspection may be required before even listing your property, as it provides potential homebuyers the assurance that the fireplace won’t cause any problems.
Also, in the same way as a home inspection does, a level 2 chimney inspection will help both home sellers and buyers identify any problems in the home, reducing the risk of experience dangerous hazards later on. This ensures a smoother sale for the person selling the home, and it gives the buyer peace of mind knowing they won’t face any serious (or dangerous) issues in the future.
Are You Moving? Count On Us
Planning for a big move? Rely on The Chimney Doctor for a thorough level 2 chimney video inspection. As experts in the chimney industry, we can ensure the chimney is in proper working order. Or, if not, we can recommend necessary repairs and maintenance.
Reach out now by calling (970) 234-3330 or by contacting us online – we’d love to hear from you soon.