Why Chimney Inspections are Important
Why should you bother having your chimney inspected? The following statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for 2010 is a good place to start.
“U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,331,500 fires. These fires resulted in 3,120 civilian fire fatalities, 17,720 civilian fire injuries and an estimated
$11,593,000,000 in direct property loss. There was a civilian fire death every 169 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 30 minutes in 2010. Home fires caused 2,640,
or 85%, of the civilian fire deaths. Fires accounted for five percent of the 28,205,000 total calls. Eight percent of the calls were false alarms; sixty-six percent of the calls
were for aid such as EMS.”
There are three main causes for home fires; chimney fires, electrical and dryer fires. Clean chimneys DO NOT catch on fire.
We have included a very informative video from the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) that will walk you through the process of chimney inspections as there are 3 levels of inspections depending on the condition of the chimney and fireplace as determined by a certified technician. This is one reason you want to make sure whoever you have out to inspect, clean or repair your chimney appliance is certified and can show proof of certification. The CSIA certification is considered the highest in the industry.
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is thinking their chimneys only need to be cleaned and inspected if they burn wood in their fireplaces or wood stoves. However, all such appliances, whether they burn gas, oil, wood or coal, rely on the chimney to carry toxic gases out of the house. This why it is important to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home; especially if you have gas appliances. If you will get an annual chimney inspection and cleaning it will help prevent carbon monoxide from ever entering your home!
The cost of hiring a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® to complete an annual chimney inspection is modest in comparison to what it will cost in loss and lives if you were to have a fire. That small investment can simply reduce the danger of chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps are considered the best trained as they have earned the industry’s most respected credentials by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimneys and venting systems. Insurance investigators regularly rely on CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps to help determine whether a fire originated in – or damaged – the chimney system.
Three levels of chimney inspections cover:
- Level I Chimney Inspection – This is the most basic inspection to your appliance and is considered appropriate when no changes have been made or planned to be made in your fireplace or chimney system. This is always conducted on an annual service visit. The technician will not be intrusive or disruptive of the chimney structure or finish when conducting a Level I inspection.
- Level II Chimney Inspection – Everything that is done as far as a visual inspection takes place first. If there are any changes to the heating appliance, a transfer of property then a Level II inspection is required by codes. This level also takes place when there has been any type of event that could cause damage to the chimney, fireplace or appliance. The technician can and most likely will access the chimney portion through attics, basements or crawl spaces to determine safety as well as video cameras to view and gain access to the inner workings of the appliance. However, a Level II Inspection will not require any removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure.
- Level III Chimney Inspection – A Level III Inspection will only take place after a Level I or Level II Inspection indicates necessity. This because Level III inspections can require the destruction or dismantling of the chimney system or appliance. This requires special tools and access to concealed areas of the chimney and flue to reach concealed portions of the chimney and flue.
Contact us today and set up an appointment to get your chimney inspected and keep you family safe!