The evenings are getting cooler and days are getting shorter, which means one thing. Fall is coming, and that means burning season is upon us. If you have not yet had your chimney system cleaned and inspected, now is the time. Don’t wait!
Avoid the Fall Rush
The busy season for the chimney industry starts with the “fall rush” in September and October, and stretches into January. This is the time that chimney sweeps are busy with emergency calls as well as scheduled maintenance, installations, and repairs. It may be difficult to get a preferred appointment time during the fall rush. During this time you should schedule at least two weeks in advance in order to get your maintenance completed when you need it.
The Importance of the Annual Inspection
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend regular chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections. These inspections should be completed by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS), because only a certified chimney sweep is experienced in level one, two, and three inspections. It’s at the inspection that all the parts of the chimney are assessed and a chimney sweep can recognize even minor issues with the chimney system. Minor problems today can cause major damage tomorrow.
Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service uses video equipment to gain access to the entire length of the chimney flue. This footage allows your technician to provide a detailed report for your insurance provider, real estate agent, and your personal records. The video surveillance is a great resource for your chimney sweep because it can help distinguish between minor cracks which can be sealed, or major damage which requires more extensive repairs.
Chimney Inspections Explained
While a chimney inspection is recommended (and required by many home owners insurance policies) there are different levels:
- A level one inspection is recommended annually when there have been no changes to the chimney system, problems, or change in fuel. This inspection is an examination of the readily accessible portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible portions of the appliance and the chimney connection.
- A level two inspection is recommended if changes have been made to the chimney system, you have changed fuel type, or have experienced an event like tornado, earthquake, or flue fire. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl spaces and basements. It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations.
- A level three inspection is required when an issue is reported during a level one or two inspection. A Level 3 inspection includes all the areas and items checked in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary. Removal of components (i.e., chimney crown, interior chimney wall) shall be required only when necessary to gain access to areas that are the subject of the inspection. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.
Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service takes inspections seriously and our sweeps are available for inspections by appointment. Hurry and schedule your inspection before the rush. Call 919-747-1859 or request an appointment online.