For your chimney to function efficiently, you need to clean it on a regular basis. However, chimney inspections and cleaning aren’t a DIY project. The best thing you need to do is to allow professionals to work on this project. It is an exercise that calls for adequate knowledge of how chimneys work and where you can easily get problems.
In winter, chimneys get exposed to fumes, heat, and different types of dust particles that accumulate in them. In some instances, the malfunctioning of chimneys can result in fire. Therefore, if you wish to inspect your old chimney or are planning to buy a home with a chimney, it is wise to consult with a professional chimney inspector. In this article, we will be going through some of the things that you need to know about chimney inspection. Knowledge is crucial as it will help you to take good care of this important section of your house.
Here are Chimney Inspections Everything You Need to Know:
1. How Often Should You Carry Out Chimney Inspections
The primary role of a chimney on the house is removing blockages, soot, and creosote from the smoke chamber, firebox, or chimney liner. The good thing about keeping the chimney clean is that it will serve you safely and efficiently. Did you know that even a small creosote accumulation can result in the fire? Therefore, chimneys also have a special role in keeping your property safe.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, you need to inspect the chimney before purchasing a home and then at least once every 12 months. Even if you are rarely using your stove or fireplace, it is still worthwhile to inspect your chimney once in a year. Trying to save on inspection costs is not a wise move as this may end up damaging your property. Therefore, you need to inspect your chimney regularly and ensure that it is in the best condition possible.
2. What Do Chimney Inspections Involve
When you carry out chimney inspection thoroughly and carefully, it will alert you of any physical defects in the flue or firebox, creosote buildup, or whether there are any blockages. Chimney inspections also reveal the status of your structure, any leaks, cracks, and its stability. Therefore, it is a crucial exercise that no homeowner should overlook. It will help you to correct any potential problems before they can get out of hand.
3. Levels of Chimney Inspection
The other important thing that you need to understand is the levels of chimney inspection. The National Fire Protection Association groups chimney inspection into three categories.
The first level entails a general examination of the physical structure of the chimney. It entails the assessment of the chimney crown, interior walls, joints, and the flue liner. It may appear to be a simple process but it still calls for the use of professional services. This inspection level helps in identifying any points of obstruction and suit that tend to increase the risk of fire.
The second level of chimney inspection comes in handy when the home is on sale or when there is structural damage to the chimney-like in the case of fire, tornado, or earthquake. The inspection professionals use specialized tools to examine the chimney to assess for any structural weaknesses and examine the areas that you cannot view with your naked eyes.
In the third level of chimney inspection, you have to remove some parts on the structure of the chimney to be able to visualize if there are any inner damages. In general, most houses that have never experienced a problem require the level one inspection. However, you should not miss out on annual inspections regardless of the state of your chimney.
4. Qualifications of a Chimney Inspector
The first thing you need to understand is that there is a big difference between a chimney inspector and a chimney sweep. Most property owners who have no clue about the chimney and how it operates tend to confuse between these two terminologies.
What a chimney sweep does is to simply clear the soot. These people have no role to play when it comes to chimney inspection. The National Fireplace Institute and Chimney Institute of America certify all chimney inspectors in the region. You also need to look for the same requirements within your locality. However, there is always a body that certifies chimney inspectors regardless of your state or country.
You also need to check at the credentials of the roof inspector, references, and proof of insurance before you can hire these professionals. It is always advisable to ask for references from the local chimney institute. You will get recommendations for some of the companies that supply the best chimney inspection contractors in the region. The guiding principle here is to get high-quality chimney inspectors. These professionals should be certified and possess the necessary experience in the industry.
5. Random Chimney Inspection calls & Scams
As a homeowner, if you get a random call from individuals who claim to be chimney inspectors and claim to offer big discounts, you should not fall for them. You need to know that the market has so many scammers and cheap services are not always the best.
Fraudulent individuals usually run the fly-by-night operations and they only serve as chimney sweeps and don’t know anything about chimney inspection. The challenge with most homeowners is that they don’t take their chimneys with the seriousness that it deserves. As a result, they lack sufficient knowledge on who does what and the qualifications that chimney inspectors should possess.
One thing your need to understand is that there is under-regulation in the chimney industry. Therefore, as the homeowner, you have to make sure that you carry out annual inspections. You should also ask the right questions to be able to find the most qualified professionals for the work. It makes a lot of sense to consult with the Local Fire Safety Institute and the local chimney safety in case you have any questions. You should always look for credentialed and licensed professionals to help inspect your chimney. Failure to do this will risk setting your home on fire.
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View: Fireplace and Chimney Inspections