Inspections Once A Year?

When it comes to your chimney, the question is never if the chimney should inspected, it’s when should it be inspected? Chimney safety professionals and industry leaders recommend that a Indianapolis chimney be swept and inspected annually. The hard fact is that residential fires do happen, and when they do, there are often catastrophic results. In 2011, there were 365,500 structural residential fires (house fires) resulting in 13,400 injuries and 2,240 deaths, not to mention the $6.46 billion in property loss. One of the best ways to reduce the number of fires is to have your chimney and fireplace inspected annually for safety and functionality.

What Kinds of Inspections Are There?

There are three different levels of chimney safety inspections, all designed and created by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Upon arrival, your outfitter will determine what level of inspection is appropriate and best for you.

Level 1

This inspection encompasses all easily accessible areas. No tools will be used to gain access to the inspected areas. A level one inspection should be used only on chimneys that are not suspected to have any damage.

Level 2

A level two inspection is more extensive. Whenever a homeowner changes the home’s heating system, sells their home, or suspects some kind of malfunction or damage, a level two inspection should be performed. The outfitter will do a video scan of the chimney to look for any damage or deterioration.

Level 3

The level three inspection is the most thorough. Outfitters may need to gain access to hidden or hard to reach areas. This could include cutting drywall or making alterations. Before allowing an Outfitter to perform a level three inspection, you should discuss this with them. Your Outfitter will be able to explain the reason for this inspection and how best to approach it, if it becomes necessary.

What Is the Outfitter Looking For?

Your outfitter will look for any damage, unwanted deposits, or buildup. All levels will include an inspection of the inside and outside of the chimney:

  • loose or spalling bricks
  • missing or deteriorated mortar
  • cracks in the concrete crown
  • rusted chase covers
  • nests or creatures in the chimney
  • water intrusion
  • creosote or other hazardous build-up
  • structural soundness and functionality

What Then?

After the initial inspection, your outfitter will recommend a course of action, whether that’s necessary repairs, or the go-ahead to enjoy a fire. If there are concerns with the functionality of your chimney, your outfitter will provide you with a quote and discuss with you options for the needed repairs.

I’m Sure It’s Fine For Another Year…

If you choose to skip a chimney inspection or simply forget, you could run into all kinds of problems. These problems could cost you thousands of dollars in damages, or may result in injury or death of you, other people in your home, or even close neighbors. Residential fires are not something to be taken lightly, and an unchecked chimney is a common cause of house-fires.

Aside from a residential fire, a damaged or unchecked chimney can cause a homeowner to experience other kinds of unforeseen problems not caused by fires. Water intrusion may lead to problems including mold and structural damage. Weathering can deteriorate mortar joints and cause bricks to chip away. Any missing mortar or brick means your chimney is not functioning correctly. A damaged chimney could also affect your home’s ability to retain heat and become an excessive cost to maintain.

The structural and functional soundness of your chimney has numerous affects on the overall value and dependability of your home. Investing in your chimney is investing in the reliability of your home for the piece of mind it provides your family, neighborhood and your city.