The season is changing from summer to fall and the air is getting crisp. This is the time when homeowners light up their fireplace for a little extra heat before switching on the central heat system or furnace. It’s the time when reading a book by the fire is your favorite way to close out a long day, and gatherings are made cozier with a crackling fire. Don’t let a dirty or damaged chimney mess up your plans.
Importance of Routine Maintenance
You can never completely prevent a fire, but there are preventative measures you can take to bring down the fire risk this winter. Both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend routine maintenance for the safest and most efficient chimney system year-round. Routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections are your first defense against chimney damage this year. Caring for and maintaining your chimney properly will lengthen its life and protect your investment at the same time.
Annual CSIA Inspections
What if you only use your fireplace periodically through winter and don’t notice any issues with its performance?
There is a chimney inspection for you. Because of the varying use of chimneys from house to house and climate to climate, the CSIA inspection is categorized into three levels.
- Level 1 – Required annually when a chimney system is used the same as before and no changes are to be made. This inspection is an assessment of all the readily accessible portions of the chimney system and requires no special tools.
- Level 2 – Required when there are changes made to the system (new installation or fuel change) or when a natural occurrence might have caused damage (tornado, earthquake, etc.). A level 2 inspection is also required when a property is sold or transferred. It involves the same consideration as a level 1 inspection as well as a more thorough assessment of other, hidden portions, including those accessible through attics and crawl spaces.
- Level 3 – Recommended when a level 1 or 2 inspection suggests a hazard. This inspection requires special tools to remove components of the structure (walls, ceilings, masonry, etc.) in order to access the hazard.
Hire a Professional
When you hire a professional for a chimney inspection, you can rest assured knowing that your chimney is ready for burn season. Not only can you light the first fire when you want, but you will have the assurance that your chimney is safe from winter damage like water penetration. Additionally, your family is kept safe from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. If there is a danger in using your chimney system, your technician will find it. If you neglect your chimney system by failing to schedule this important appointment, however, you put your family and your property at risk.