Why You Should Have Your Chimney Inspected

Chimney Inspection Baltimore help homeowners discover the condition of their fireplaces and chimneys. This information is valuable for preventing fires, avoiding expensive repairs, and diagnosing ongoing performance problems.

A level 1 inspection is the most common, examining all accessible areas of the chimney structure and flue. However, a level three evaluation is required if a hidden hazard is suspected.

A level 1 inspection is a basic inspection that involves looking around the exterior of your chimney and checking for water damage, cracks, or other issues. A chimney sweep typically does it to make sure your chimney is safe and in good working condition.

Level 2 inspections are more in-depth and look at the chimney structure and the readily accessible portions of your combustible materials. A level 2 chimney inspection can only be completed by a certified chimney sweep and requires special equipment that allows the chimney sweep to see what they normally cannot with their eyes. This type of inspection is often necessary after a fire or any other external event that could cause damage to your chimney.

It is recommended that you have this type of inspection done yearly, and it is also mandatory to get this inspection before selling your home or changing fuel sources. In addition, a level 2 inspection is required after a significant change in the construction of your chimney or flue (i.e., relining, replacement of an appliance), changes in the shape of your chimney or flue, or the installation of a new fireplace, masonry heater or wood stove.

Preparing for your DOT inspection starts with having all your documents in order. This includes your driver’s license, medical certificate, skill performance evaluation certificate, if applicable, and any ELD or log books and vehicle registrations. It would help if you kept these up to date and always had them with you in case you needed to show them to the inspector.

It’s also important to know that the inspector will review all aspects of your truck and driver safety, including cargo securement, brake systems, lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, turn signals, and lamps/flags on projecting loads), steering mechanisms, suspensions, and tires. You will need to have all of these in working order to pass the inspection and ensure that you drive safely and follow all DOT guidelines.

Generally, you must be near your truck or in the cab during most of the inspection. Depending on the complexity of your vehicle, this can take anywhere from 45 – 60 minutes.

A Level 2 chimney inspection takes a more detailed look at the structure of your fireplace and the flue with the help of video equipment. The technician inserts a camera down the chimney to observe the interior walls of your fireplace and the condition of your flue lining. The camera can spot cracks, gaps, dents, missing mortar, and other signs of deterioration or intrusion. It can also confirm that the flue lining is free of flammable material. The inspector can then assess the condition of your chimney structure and make recommendations for repairs or a possible reline.

Level 2 inspections are recommended for a variety of reasons. They are especially necessary before you sell a home, as they give potential homeowners peace of mind that the chimney and fireplace are safe to use. During a typical real estate home inspection, the professional home inspector can only examine the readily accessible parts of your chimney and fireplace.

Chimney and fireplace safety is a major concern for any homeowner. Unfortunately, thousands of homeowners experience a fire or other chimney issue each year. A comprehensive chimney inspection is the best way to identify and repair problems before they become dangerous or costly.

The most important reason to schedule a Level 2 chimney inspection is if there have been significant changes to your fireplace or chimney. These include a change in fuel type (such as moving from wood to gas) or an alteration to the flue’s design or construction.

Another time to schedule a Level 2 chimney inspection is after an outside event that may have damaged the chimney. Earthquakes, chimney fires, and other natural disasters can seriously impact your fireplace’s ability to function safely. A Level 2 inspection can help you find the source of your long-term chimney problems.

Getting a level 2 inspection before installing a new appliance is also a good idea. This will ensure that your chimney is sized properly for the new heating device and can provide a proper draft to fuel the fire and send smoke up and out of the home.

A Level 3 inspection is a big deal, and it can be costly for you. In addition to a bad CSA score, you can lose business, get out of service, and incur fines. That’s why preparing yourself to pass the inspection with flying colors is important. It all comes down to working properly and having the right paperwork. For example, you should always have a copy of your driver’s license and medical card with you. You should also keep copies of vehicle inspection reports and the HM/DG requirements for each truck, trailer, or bus.

It would help to have your chimney and fireplace professionally inspected at least once per year. These inspections protect your home from accidental fires, flue blockages, and carbon monoxide poisoning. They also ensure that the chimney is safe to use and that no serious issues need to be addressed.

Over time, your chimney can get clogged with leaves, twigs, branches, debris, and animal nests. This can cause a dangerous buildup of combustible material and impede proper drafting, which could lead to a chimney fire. If you have a critter problem in your chimney, you can end up with carbon monoxide fumes in your home, which are lethal.

Chimney fires are one of the primary causes of residential house fires every year. These fires are often caused by creosote, a highly flammable chemical that forms in your chimney walls when you burn wood. Creosote accumulation is difficult to remove on your own and can be very destructive. Chimneys that are not regularly inspected and cleaned can also develop structural problems, which may not be obvious to homeowners.

Even if your chimney is in good condition, you should schedule regular level-one inspections. The inspector will be able to see any areas that need improvement or repair, and they can recommend solutions to ensure your chimney is working properly.

You should also consider scheduling a level two or three inspections if it has been a while since your chimney was last inspected. These inspections are more intensive and useful if you have recently experienced a chimney fire or dramatic weather events, such as a hurricane, earthquake, or tornado. During these types of inspections, the chimney professional will go into your attic, crawl space, or other area to get a closer look at the hard-to-reach areas of your chimney.

It is also smart to schedule a chimney inspection if you are considering selling your home or changing your heating system. These changes can affect how your fireplace and chimney work and an inspection will help you address any issues before they become more problematic.

Before the chimney sweep arrives, ensure that all embers have completely burned out and that your fireplace is cool. It’s a good idea to spread a drop cloth or towel in front of the fireplace to keep any ash and debris from spilling on your floor. In addition, you should roll up any rugs in the area to protect them from soot and ash.

Once the chimney sweep finishes the inspection and cleaning, you will receive a written report outlining your chimney’s condition, including any recommendations for repairs or maintenance. In addition to noting any signs of structural deterioration like cracking bricks, the report will detail the amount and type of accumulating creosote. It will also list any other issues, such as white stains or efflorescence, that indicate the presence of moisture.

A professional chimney sweep can also recommend safety measures, such as a fireplace insert, which reduces creosote buildup and makes removing it easier. He or she can also advise you on the best way to use your fireplace safely, such as adding a few aspen logs to the end of each fire to help it burn quickly and cleanly.

Karen Smith