Chimney Inspections

Fireplace Safety for Homeowners

More than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves, and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks when heating with wood and solid fuels.

Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. These fires are often due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.

1st Rate Inspections encourages homeowners to practice the following fire safety steps to keep those home fires safely burning. Remember, fire safety is a personal responsibility.

When or why should you get a level 2 chimney inspection?

A level 2 inspection is required when any changes have been made to the system. These changes can include a change in the fuel type (for example, you’re switching from wood burning to gas), changes to the shape or material of the flue (i.e. relining), 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 (NFPA-211), or after an operation malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, earthquakes, as well as weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted.

What’s it like?

A level 2 inspection shall include all things covered in a level 1 inspection but should also include a visual inspection (through video scan or other means) to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. A level 2 inspection will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations, so it should also include an inspection of the accessible** portions of the chimney exterior and interior, including attics, crawl spaces, and basements. There are no specialty tools (i.e., demolition equipment) required to open doors, panels, or coverings when performing a level 2 inspection. No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required during a level 2 inspection.

Readily accessible means

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 means

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.

Note: If you’ve just moved into your home, or if it’s been a while since you had your chimney inspected and you just want peace of mind, Please feel free to contact our office for more information.

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