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What to Expect From a Chimney Inspection

Chimney Inspection
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What to Expect From a Chimney Inspection

Source: Angieslist

Know what to expect when you hire a chimney sweep for an annual inspection and cleaning.

As the weather cools, you may begin to picture curling up by your fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book. But before you light your first fire of the season, make sure your fireplace and chimney are in good working condition. Experts recommend having your chimney inspected annually to help prevent fires and carbon monoxide intrusion.

For a basic inspection before a routine cleaning, your technician will visually examine the elements that can be easily accessed and may using common tools, such as a flashlight, screwdriver or pliers.

Here’s what the pros look for and how:

1. Soundness of structural elements and flue

Look on the interior and exterior of your home for any indications of problems or wear and tear on the basic elements of your chimney, fireplace and hearth.

Regular chimney inspections and cleanings help prevent fires from creosote buildup and save money on repairs.

2. Clearance from combustibles

Examine the structure of the chimney to make sure that combustibles are unable to contact any building materials and create a fire hazard.

3. Presence of obstructions

Make sure the chimney is free of all organic debris and leaves, animal nests and anything else that might block or impede the venting of smoke, gas and combustible byproducts and cause a chimney fire.

4. Nature and volume of combustible deposits

Assess whether byproducts like creosote have been building up on the walls of your chimney to the degree that they pose a risk of igniting.

The above should come with a Level 1 inspection of a regularly used fireplace without any known problems. A standard inspection and cleaning — or “sweeping” — should take about an hour to an hour and a half.

Consider having a Level 2 inspection, which includes video scanning of the chimney’s interior, if you experience a fire or malfunction, have an earthquake or strong storm, or make a change to your heating system, including changing the fuel type you use or adding a liner. If a problem is discovered, a Level 3 inspection may be needed and require access to hidden areas adjacent to the unit, which may disturb drywall or other parts of your home.

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