How safe is your chimney?
We follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommended inspection procedures.
NFPA divides the inspection procedure into three categories, or levels. The circumstances which give rise to the inspection determine what level of inspection is to be conducted. A Level I inspection is the most basic level of inspection while Level II. A Level I inspection is completed during each chimney cleaning, or sweeping.
Level I Inspection
A Level I inspection is the recommended level when an evaluation of the chimney system for continued service is needed and the conditions of use are not changing. This could include:
Routine or annual evaluations of the venting system
An appliance connected to the system is being replaced with a similar appliance
A Level I inspection is limited to readily accessible portions of the venting system, and accessible portions of the connected appliance(s) and the chimney connection. The inspector will check the readily accessible portions of the chimney, its enclosing structure, and the flue. A Level I inspection includes verification that the flue is not blocked or significantly restricted.
Level II Inspection
A Level II inspection is more detailed and thorough than a Level I inspection and is the recommended inspection when conditions of use for the appliance or venting system are changing, or when a Level I inspection reveals the need for a more detailed inspection. Several instances where a Level II inspection is specifically recommended include:
During chimney cleaning or sweeping
Replacement of an appliance with one of dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency
Prior to a flue relining
Upon sale or transfer of the property
After an event likely to have caused damage to the chimney, such as a chimney fire or other sudden occurrence event
A Level II inspection includes all of the requirements of a Level I inspection as well as the following:
Inspection of accessible areas of attics, basements, and crawlspaces
Accessible areas of the chimney exterior and interior
Accessible portions of the appliance and chimney connection
Video scanning, or other thorough inspection, of the flue interior
Evaluation of the flue lining to determine that its material and sizing is appropriate for the appliances being served
Proper clearance to combustibles in the accessible areas listed above
Proper construction and condition of the chimney system in the accessible areas listed above
While the Level II inspection is a rather thorough inspection and requires access to many areas of the building, it does not require removal of permanent parts of the building, such as siding, chase covers or wall coverings.
Frequency of Inspection
NFPA recommends that all chimneys, fireplaces and vents be inspected annually. In addition to this requirement, there are other times when chimney and venting systems should be inspected, such as:
1. After any unusual, or sudden occurrence event, such as a chimney fire, lightning strike, or earthquake
2. Prior to purchasing a home with an existing chimney
3. Whenever changes are made to a chimney or vent system, including replacement of connected appliances
4. Prior to major system repairs
You should be aware that even the most thorough inspection will not reveal all problems. Some areas of a chimney simply are not assessable due to construction of the house. Be sure to discuss any specific concerns with your service technician. The recommended inspection technique will often be based on your comments and concerns. Our technicians are trained to perform the appropriate level of inspection based upon the use of the chimney and any performance problems or safety concerns using the NFPA 211 as our standard.