Happy Friday Readers, it’s time once again for some helpful tips from Matt Steger at WIN Home Inspection! This week Matt discusses Level 2 Chimney Inspections as part of a fireplace and chimney maintenance plan. Don’t have a chimney maintenance plan? You should!
Don’t forget to call Matt Steger with WIN Home Inspection at 717-361-9467 for all of your home inspection needs!
Chimney maintenance is critical, whether the chimney is used with a fireplace or wood stove or simply exhausts the home’s fossil fuel heating system or water heater. While often overlooked by home owners and new buyers alike, a thorough inspection by a certified chimney professional (such as one certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America) is strongly recommended. For real estate transactions, I strongly recommend a thorough level 2 inspection of all chimneys. Since the inside of the chimney is mostly inaccessible to a home inspector, even if viewed from the firebox and top exterior, the level 2 inspection can determine the overall condition of the chimney and report any issues. Internal chimney repairs can be quite expensive, so finding out now the chimney’s condition is wise. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends level 2 inspections when changing the fireplace’s fuel type, relining the flue, a building or chimney fire occurs, an operational malfunction or earthquake occurs, or when a real estate transaction happens.
Keep in mind that, whether a chimney is venting a fireplace, wood stove, water heater, furnace, or boiler, regular chimney inspections and maintenance is critical for safe operation of the system.
The level 2 inspection entails the certified chimney professional performing a thorough inspection of the exterior and interior chimney components as well as within the firebox. The level 2 inspection should also include the use of still or video photography along the chimney’s full interior length. The chimney professional is looking for damaged masonry and cracks in the flue liner, as well as other issues that may be detrimental to safe use of the system. The flue system is also typically cleaned, prior to the visual inspection, to provide better visual access. If damaged masonry or other components are found, they should be repaired. The level 2 inspection should also include inspection of crawl spaces, basements, or attic areas adjacent to the fireplace or chimney to ensure proper clearance from combustibles.
Next week, we’ll explore what a home inspector does regarding fireplaces and chimneys as part of their home inspection.
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Weichert, Realtors – Engle & Hambright
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