Spring into Action with Your Annual Chimney Inspection
The birds are singing, flowers are blooming and the days are getting warmer, it’s the time of year when spring is in the air. It’s also time for those spring cleaning chores that we’ve been putting off for months. And one very important item that should be on every homeowners list this spring is an annual chimney inspection.
Do I really need an annual chimney inspection?
Whether you are burning wood, oil or gas, the chimney is the one critical component that contains the fire within the fireplace while keeping smoke and fumes out of your home. Small cracks or debris in the chimney can cause carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless toxic gas, to leak inside your home. Also creosote, a chemical byproduct of burning fossil fuels, accumulates inside the flue and chimney. And with temperatures soaring to over 1,000 degrees, the high heat or a spark from burning embers can ignite resulting in a chimney fire. Each year fire departments respond to thousands of chimney fires that displace many homeowners. In the vast majority of cases, creosote accumulation from an unswept chimney was the primary cause.
I haven’t used my fireplace in years; do I still need a chimney inspection?
Even if your fireplace hasn’t been in operation for a while, an annual chimney inspection is still necessary to maintain and preserve its structural integrity. Weather and environmental conditions like freezing rain, snow, and hail can cause excessive wear and tear on the chimney masonry. This can also result in small cracks developing in the surface allowing water to leak inside the chimney which can cause structural issues and other safety hazards over time. Rotting debris, pests and small animals that get stuck inside can also cause other issues. Therefore, it is important that the chimney be inspected annually even if it hasn’t been used in a while.
Understanding the three chimney inspection levels
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), one of the leading certifying authorities for chimney sweeps, recommends homeowners have the level of chimney inspection that most closely resembles their chimney’s current state.
Level I: This is a basic, routine visual chimney inspection that is recommended for most homeowners that have been continuously operating their chimney each year and no structural improvements or changes have been made to the chimney, fireplace or other home heating appliance.
Level II: This is a more in-depth visual and video chimney inspection that is recommend when changes, modifications or repairs have been made to the chimney, fireplace or home heating system. Switching to a different or alternative fuel source also requires a level II chimney inspection.
Level III: When safety hazards are known or identified in the chimney, a level III inspection is often recommended. It incorporates all of the features of a level I and level II inspection, with the addition of the possible removal of various chimney components like the flue or crown, for example, when a closer inspection is required to identify, verify and mitigate the source of a safety hazard.
Contact us today to schedule your annual spring chimney inspection and cleaning. Our certified chimney sweep will make sure your chimney is safe and ready for use before colder weather arrives.