According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), chimney systems that are cleaned regularly and inspected annually are the safest and most efficient. Efficient chimneys have less risk of a flue fire. Chimneys that are constructed and maintained properly are less likely to transfer heat, smoke, or gas through the masonry into the home. These annual inspections are when we can identify hazards and make repairs before disaster strikes. Chimney inspections prevent fires.
If your appliance or your venting system has not changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a Level 1 inspection is a minimum requirement. A Level 1 inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same appliance.
In a Level 1 inspection, we will examine the “readily accessible” portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. We will be looking for the basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue, as well as of the basic appliance installation and connections. We will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.
A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape of, or material in, the flue (i.e. relining), or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency. Additionally, a Level 2 inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property, or after an operation malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events, and even weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted.
There are no specialty tools (i.e. demolition equipment) required to open doors, panels or coverings in performing a Level 2 inspection. A Level 2 inspection will also include a visual inspection (possibly via a video scan, if necessary) in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish will be required by a Level 2 inspection.