If you’re buying a home, it is a good idea to ask for a separate inspection of the home’s chimney before signing the closing documents. While a traditional home inspection may offer a cursory look at the home’s chimney system, it can miss critical problems. An independent chimney inspection provides peace of mind that all chimney components are operating safely and are up to the standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
What to Expect From Standardized Chimney Inspections
Chimney inspections fall under one of three levels established by the NFPA. A level one inspection is a simple, standard, annual inspection when there are no reported problems with the home’s fireplace. A level three inspection involves removing bricks or even a whole wall to gain access to the chimney. This type of inspection is reserved only for natural disasters or fires involving the chimney. A level two inspection lies in the middle and is recommended for homebuyers.
A level two chimney inspection allows homeowners a clear picture of the chimney system. This includes a thorough examination of all exterior and interior fireplace and chimney parts. During the inspection, the inspector assesses the chimney and fireplace for signs of deterioration or damage that might affect safety or functionality.
The inspector may also employ closed-circuit camera technology to reach parts of the flue that are otherwise inaccessible. An inspection like this ensures that hidden safety issues and damage are brought to light. This simple step can help you avoid a chimney fire, which is more common than you’d think. There are more than 25,000 such fires in the U.S. each year.
The NFPA recommends a level two inspection of the chimney and chimney system whenever any alterations are made to the system, such as changing fuel sources or installing a new fireplace insert. Not all areas of the country require a level two chimney inspection when a home is up for sale, so it behooves potential homebuyers to ask for one when negotiating with their real estate professional.
Who Provides Chimney Inspections?
When seeking an independent chimney inspection, be sure to look for a chimney sweep who holds certification from the Chimney Safety Institute of America. This ensures that the inspector has been properly trained to look for all issues involving chimney systems. For more information about our chimney inspections, repairs, and maintenance services, contact us today!