The fireplace is often the centrepiece of a home. It’s where people gather, celebrate special occasions, and create memories. Unfortunately, fireplaces are a significant cause of house fires, especially if they are not maintained and regularly inspected. Knowing what to look at during a chimney inspection is a way to stay ahead of large-scale damage and safety issues that can arise when chimneys are not looked after.
Many people think if they don’t use their fireplace, they don’t need to have it inspected. According to the CSIA, Chimney Safety Institute of America, even unused fireplaces need to be inspected because a home’s chimney is a source by which other heating devices release toxic gases. If a chimney is clogged or filled with debris, these fumes can build up in the home, and that is not what anyone wants.
Why Get a Chimney Inspection in the First Place?
Creosote is the cause of most chimney fires, and this is the first thing a chimney inspector will check. If there is a creosote buildup in the chimney, it will look like a thick gummy substance, and this is simply a buildup of a byproduct of burning wood. Hiring a professional inspector is the best way to manage and prevent any creosote buildup. Creosote buildup is the main thing to look for during a chimney inspection.
Also, being mindful of which types of wood you burn in your fireplace is very important. Soft or green woods have resin in them that contribute to creosote buildup. There are most often two types of chimney inspections for homeowners to choose between, referred to as Level One and Level Two.
Level One Chimney Inspections
When an inspector conducts a level one inspection, it takes around an hour, and they are mainly inspecting the accessible chimney components, such as the firebox size and the stove clearance. This type of examination will reveal if there is the need for a chimney sweep or not.
A chimney sweep is effective when there is debris blocking the air ducts or a significant creosote buildup. Critters like birds and squirrels are also known to set up camp in chimneys, and this can contribute to a chimney being clogged. Trapped debris is one of the main causes of house fires and can result in the trapping of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide inside the home. The chimney cap – the tool that fits over the flue to protect it from debris and water – is also something that should be inspected.
Level Two Chimney Inspections
Level two chimney inspections are recommended to new home owners or for people who haven’t formerly had a level one inspection done. This is a worthy investment as the inspection will ensure that the fireplace is safe and functioning, and if not, any potential issues will be remedied before they cause major damage or pose any health risks to the home’s inhabitants. During a level two, a chimney sweep will get on top of the roof, clean out the chimney, and take additional measurements to monitor the distance between the chimney and any other combustibles.
When it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, there are few things that bring more warmth and charm to a home. They do, however, have to be cared for and maintained property to ensure their safe operation. A chimney inspection can point out problems and remedy them before they cause large-scale damage, or even worse, endanger the home’s inhabitants. Regarding what to look at during a chimney inspection, a professional chimney inspector will look for creosote buildup, debris that is clogging the chimney, and take measurements to confirm whether or not the chimney’s proximities to any other combustibles is problematic.
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