How Often Should You Have a Chimney Inspection Performed?
Both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend an annual inspection of all chimneys and vents. This includes the chimneys and vents serving: fireplaces, stoves, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, and dryers.
Why Should You Have Lou Curley Inspect Your Chimney?
Lou Curley is a F.I.R.E. Certified Chimney and Fireplace Inspector, an IAFCI Certified Professional Chimney Inspector, has taken the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s (CSIA) “Inspection and Report Writing” class, and countless other online and in person classes.
Lou has done thousands of chimney inspections over the years and stays current with all of the codes and standards as they come out. When you have Lou inspect your chimney, you can be sure you’re getting an accurate assessment of its current condition.
What Is A Chimney Inspection?
The National Fire Protection Association adopted 3 levels of inspection which are described below:
Level 1 inspections – 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, readily accessible portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible portions of the appliance and the chimney connection are inspected.
The basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue, the basic appliance installation and connections, and verification that the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits are all checked.
Level 2 Inspections –A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change in the fuel type, relining the flue, 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. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl spaces and basements.
It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations. A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney.
Level 3 Inspections – A Level 3 inspection includes all the areas and items checked in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary.
Removal of components (i.e., chimney crown, interior chimney wall) shall be required only when necessary to gain access to areas that are the subject of the inspection. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.
Do Home Inspectors Inspect the Chimney?
Not really. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors Standard of Practice, the inspector is not required to inspect the interior of flues or chimneys.
Does Your HVAC Contractor Inspect the Chimney For Your Oil or Gas Furnace or Boiler?
Not really. They may clear out debris from the base of the chimney when performing their annual service, but HVAC contractors do not sweep or inspect the actual chimneys. The heater chimney should be swept or inspected annually by a qualified contractor (see above).