Chimney Safety Week – Inspections Defined

Chimney Safety Week – Inspections Defined

This week is National Chimney Safety Week. Because regular chimney inspections are such a key component to operating any indoor heating system safely, today we are defining the differences between the 3 chimney inspections levels. Have you had your annual chimney inspection yet this year?

Fall = Chimney Love
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Level 1 Inspection: The most common inspection is recommended annually for all chimneys. In this inspection, a sweep examines all readily accessible* portions of a chimney exterior and interior and accessible** portions of the appliance and chimney connection to verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.

“The Level 1 inspection is the most basic visual inspection and, in most cases, is adequate when a homeowner is diligent about annual inspections,” says our Director of Education, Ashley Eldridge.

Level 2 Inspection: A Level 2 inspection is required when the homeowner has made significant changes to a chimney system (ie. a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape of, or material in, the flue or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency) or when something indicates that such changes have occurred due to outside events. 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.

What makes this level different is the depth of inspection to identify hidden hazards, which means your certified sweep will need access to attics, crawl spaces and will rely on special tools to reveal concealed areas of the chimney and flue.

Level 3 Inspection: The most complicated inspection, Level 3 requires the removal of walls or other structures for access and is generally recommended when serious hazards are suspected. CSIA recommends a minimum of three estimates for Level 3 inspections and related repair work.

*Readily Accessible: Exposed, or capable of being exposed, for operation, inspection, maintenance or repair without the use of tools to open or remove doors, panels or coverings.
**Accessible: May require the use of commonly available tools to remove doors, panels or coverings, but will not damage the chimney or building structure or finish.
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