Have you recently purchased a property with a heating stove and a chimney? If that’s the case, one thing should be pointed out: a home inspection is totally different from a chimney inspection. To be precise, a home inspector does not usually pay a chimney an ounce of attention. So, with that being said, what is the major difference between a home inspection and a chimney inspection? You should pay attention to the following;
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOME AND CHIMNEY INSPECTION
Home inspection: There is no uniform checklist followed by home inspectors. Their basic task is to look around the inside and outside of a home looking for flaws. Some things that could be dangerous for the house or its inhabitants. One would think that this includes the inspection of the fireplace and the chimney, but that is not the case.
Chimney inspection: A chimney inspection is more in-depth than a home inspection. When you buy a property and you contract a chimney sweep to look over the fireplace and chimney, they will thoroughly examine the entire system
LEVELS OF CHIMNEY INSPECTION
Level 1 Chimney Inspection:
If you have not encountered any problem with your chimney, you would probably only need a level 1 inspection. During a level 1 inspection, a chimney sweep inspects the easily accessible parts from inside and outside the chimney, the basic structure and chimney flue, as well as basic appliance installations and fittings. It ensures that the chimney is not obstructed, checks the nature and volume of creosote and other combustible materials in the chimney and cleans accordingly. During Level 1 inspection, only basic tools are used. No damage must be caused to the chimney or inside the house.
Level 2 Chimney Inspection:
Level 2 inspection will be necessary if you have made any changes to your heating system, such as the type of fuel or the relining of the chimney; added or modified a device; malfunctioning of the chimney, fire or natural disaster causing damage; or recently bought your house. During the course of the inspection, the chimney sweep will take look at all accessible parts of the chimney and employ the use of a video camera to glance at the internal surfaces and joints of the chimney flue. This inspection also includes a review of all external parts of the chimney and fireplace. This includes access to the chimney from the roof, crawlspace, attic and other areas with better access to the chimney. The chimney sweeper will examine the construction of the chimney to confirm that it has adequate clearance from the structure of the surrounding house
Level 3 Chimney Inspection:
Where a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the assessment cannot be conducted without special tools to access hidden areas of the chimney or chimney, a Level 3 inspection is recommended. A Level 3 inspection concerns the correct construction and condition of the concealed parts of the chimney and chimney structure. The removal or destruction, as required, of permanently attached parts of the chimney or building structure will be required to complete a level 3 inspection.
A Level 3 inspection includes all zones and elements controlled during Level 1 and Level 2 inspections, as well as the removal of certain components from the building or chimney, if applicable. The removal of the components (i.e. the chimney neck and the inside wall of the chimney) is only required when necessary to access the areas being inspected. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.
To find a qualified professional, it is important to do your homework. Ask the chimney sweeps that you consider how long they have been in business, whether they offer current referrals, whether they have a valid company liability insurance policy and whether their technicians have been certified by Chimney Safety Institute of America, the only certified chimney sweep certification program in the United States. Find a certified professional in your area using the CSIA database.
Also, whatever the level of inspection, ask for a written report and keep it for your records. It is best to let the professionals inspect each year, but you can do your part throughout the year to ensure proper use of the chimney. While it’s a good idea to have an annual chimney inspection before you start using your home for the season, it’s never too late to take steps to keep your home and family safe.