A chimney sweep is a professional who has the requisite tools and training to ensure that you can use your chimney without worry each winter. A sweep must be certified, and carry out each inspection in a professional manner. After an inspection, the homeowner will receive a detailed report. Here is some information that will help you to understand this process.

Assessing Stability

While a chimney is part of the building, it is generally seen as a structure onto itself. Sometimes it is constructed as a part of the building’s foundation. Therefore, the sweep must make sure that it is not leaning, and that the foundation is sound. Either the chimney or the house, or both, can show signs of movement which will weaken the connection. In some cases it may be necessary to dig to check the foundation to assess the stability of the chimney.

Checking for Cracks

Most chimneys are comprised of bricks and mortar. These materials are durable and can last for years, but heat from the chimney and weather exposure can take a toll. The combination of the factors can cause cracks which can affect strength and cause leaks. An important part of the sweep’s checklist is to examine the mortar joints and bricks for this type of damage.

Assessing Connections

Anything that burns fuel will be connected to a chimney, and the connections must be secure for safe operation. The sweep will also make sure that they are installed correctly, and that they are the correct sizes for the fuel-burning appliances and the chimney.

Ensuring Smoke Flow

The smoke should be able to move out of the chimney, so the sweep will look for overhanging trees that can prevent this from happening. The chimney should also be free of blockages.

Checking the Clearance

The chimney should have a certain amount of clearance from combustible roofing material. This is generally known as the “3-foot, 2-foot, 10-foot rule”. If the chimney does not meet this standard, adjustments may be necessary.

Looking at the Crown

Damage to the crown can be problematic for the chimney and the building’s interior. Small cracks in the crown can lead to leaks, so the sweep must make sure that it is in good shape, and that it is properly sealed.

There are two levels of chimney inspections. Level one is a basic visual examination, and level two is very detailed, taking the sweep through all areas connected to the chimney. The sweep will use a camera for an in-depth inspection. To protect your chimney and home, talk to your sweep about a level two inspection.

Fireplace Safety and Chimney Inspections in Berwyn

We have two CSIA Certified chimney sweeps standing by to assist you with your chimney needs. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection or cleaning. We provide chimney services throughout the Main Line region.