At The Chimney Doctor, chimney inspection and professional video inspection is at the heart of everything we do. Scheduling a regular chimney inspection each year will save you money in the long run. Instead of making larger, more costly, repairs years down the road smaller repairs can be made at regular intervals to help to help protect your chimney from weathering and deterioration and help assure that your chimney system can contain the byproducts of combustion, and in the event of a chimney fire, keep your home – and family – safe and warm.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 211 says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” For example; metal or brick can weather and deteriorate, animals can build nests inside your cap or chimney, sealants used on your roof beginning to fail, flashings and storm collars begin to leak or peel away from your chimney, etc…
Per NFPA211 standards we perform Level I, II, and III chimney inspections. A yearly chimney inspection is always recommended, and in some cases more regularly, as we look for other types of wear and deterioration than simply whether or not your chimney requires cleaning. Even if you don’t use your chimney regularly deterioration leading to costly repair can still occur.
Level 1 Chimney Inspection
Before and after each chimney cleaning, or whenever you are planning to use your chimney or appliance under the same conditions of service, or with the same appliance – a Level 1 Chimney Inspection is performed. We evaluate the overall condition of your chimney or flue from the top and bottom and determine whether or not any repairs are needed. We inform you as the home owner or property manager and provide estimates for any recommended repairs. Using bright lights and mirrors we look up and/or down your chimney to visually inspect it top to bottom and make sure it will be safe for your continued use. Level 1 inspections include all readily accessible areas of your chimney system but usually do not include attics or crawlspaces, and may or may not include roof access.
Level 2 Chimney Inspection
Upon sale or transfer of any property, prior installing a new appliance, or replacing an existing appliance with one of dissimilar type, input rating, or efficiency rating, or after an external event or operating malfunction, a Level II inspection is REQUIRED. A Level II inspection involves ALL aspects of a Level I inspection plus the inspection of ALL accessible areas of your chimney system, including rooftops, attics, and crawlspaces, as well as a video inspection of your chimney flue.
Level 3 Chimney Inspection
A Level III inspection generally includes all areas included in a Level I or a Level II inspection, as well as some or all of the concealed areas of your chimney. The physical removal of permanently affixed building materials is usually required. These inspections are generally performed after a structural fire or where a Level 2 Chimney Inspection uncovers cause for concern, charring of combustible materials near the chimney, or badly deteriorated chimney liners. A Video Inspection may or may not be necessary though will be recommended and included if appropriate.
When a video inspection is performed a specialized camera is run the entire length of your chimney system to look more closely at any system deficiencies or take a peek into unseen areas that cannot be properly inspected from the top or bottom of the chimney. We inspect joints and seams in piping, flue tiles, chimney construction, the interior facing of brick and mortar joints, offsets in the chimney structure, whether or not wood was used inside the chimney structure, and other unseen obstructions and obstacles. The purpose of a video inspection is to help the inspector on site determine if your chimney was properly constructed so as to protect your home or structure in the event of a chimney fire and whether or not your chimney flue can safely contain the byproducts of combustion.
***For more information on chimney inspection types please visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America