No one wants to go through it; we don’t even want to think about it. A house fire can be devastating, but, unfortunately, they are not rare. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2020, there was a home structure fire every 89 seconds, a home fire injury every 46 minutes, and a home fire death every three hours and 24 minutes. Of the 1.4 million fires to which departments responded, 26% were in residential structures, but they accounted for 75% of civilian fire deaths and injuries.

We do not want you to become a statistic. The good news is that many home fires are preventable, and there are easy – and effective – steps you can take to reduce your risk. A chimney inspection is one of the most important.

What is a level 2 chimney inspection, and when do you need one?

What Is a Chimney Inspection?

During an inspection, a trained professional evaluates the chimney and determines whether or not it is fit to use. But not all inspections are the same – nor are all inspectors! It is critical that you are aware of the different levels of inspection, when you need them, and who should conduct them.

Some techs will shine a flashlight up your chimney and give you the go-ahead for another heating season. To ensure your safety, and that of your property, we recommend a much more thorough approach! It is important to choose a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep; this means that the professional has received extensive training and education and can effectively evaluate and sweep a chimney.

The CSIA, in compliance with the NFPA, has developed three levels of inspections. A level 1 is the most basic. Your Chimney Sweep will look at the accessible portions of the chimney interior and exterior, as well as the accessible portions of the chimney connection and heating appliance. They want to see if it’s free of obstructions and buildup and that components are in good condition. You can safely go with a level 1 inspection if you haven’t made any changes to your heating system, will continue to use it the same way, and you have the chimney professionally cleaned routinely.

Now, there are some cases when you’ll need to level up, so to speak.

What Is a Level 2 Chimney Inspection?

A level 2 inspection is more involved. In addition to the steps taken for a level 1 inspection, the Chimney Sweep:

  • Performs a visual inspection of the internal surfaces and flue liner joints
  • Looks at clearances from combustibles
  • Inspects the accessible portions of the chimney interior and exterior, including basements, attics, and crawl spaces

While they are not going to go in and demo their way through walls and floors, they are going to do a more thorough examination of the chimney. This is required when:

  • You have made changes to your heating system or the way you will use it (e.g. you convert from wood to gas)
  • You have made changes to the material and/or shape of the flue (e.g. you have relined it)
  • You intend to use a previously unused heating system/chimney
  • You have just bought your home or took ownership of the property
  • You have had a chimney malfunction
  • External factors, such as fires, earthquakes, or severe weather, have or likely have damaged the chimney

If the Chimney Sweep finds or suspects a serious hazard or hidden problem after conducting a level 1 or 2 inspection, they will recommend a level 3. This is much more extensive and often requires them to access harder to reach areas. For example, they may have to remove drywall or the chimney crown to get a better look at the situation. They will be sure to clear this with you and explain the process in detail.

Do you need a level 2 inspection? Now’s the time. Don’t wait until heating season to wonder if your system is safe for use. A Brick + Ember certified Chimney Sweep will give you the assurance and peace of mind you need.

Contact us to discuss your needs and schedule a chimney inspection.