As simple as chimneys seem to be, they’re not what you’d call “simple” structures. A lot goes on with a chimney during and after fireplace use, and a lot can go wrong that will lead to dangerous operating conditions. Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, encourages all homeowners to err on the side of safety by scheduling annual chimney inspections.
Why your chimney must be inspected
1. Detect creosote buildup
Trained chimney inspectors are able to detect excess creosote inside your chimney flue. Creosote builds up every time a wood fire is burned, and it’s the leading cause of chimney fires each year in the U.S. It’s impossible for the average homeowner to gauge creosote levels in the flue. Let your inspector do this work, and follow his or her recommendation on having your chimney properly cleaned by an experienced chimney sweep.
2. Detect flue obstructions
If you operate your chimney without a chimney cap, it can become a nesting ground for squirrels, birds, racoons and other critters. The nests, as well as the bodies of animals who can’t escape and die in the flue, can create a major drafting problem. Leaves, twigs and other tree debris will only make the issue worse. When the flue is obstructed, smoke and deadly carbon monoxide can spill back into your home. Your inspector will recommend cleaning for an obstructed chimney and the installation of a chimney cap to prevent debris and animals from entering.
3. Find early signs of damage and malfunction
A basic chimney inspection (Level 1 – see below) includes a look at the concrete chimney crown, chimney cap, chimney chase top (if you have a pre-built chimney), chimney flashing and, of course, the bricks and mortar of the masonry. Damage or malfunction to any of these components or areas can lead to unsafe operating conditions and large repair bills sooner or later. An inspection will tell you when it’s time to schedule repairs.
4. When you’re moving into a new home with a fireplace and chimney
Chimney real estate inspections (Level 2 – see below) are required when a home is being sold. These inspections go further than basic inspections with the addition of a video camera that lets the inspector see down into the chimney flue.
Chimney video inspections can determine if a chimney liner is damaged and could allow intense heat and dangerous gases to leak from the flue. With a proper Level 2 inspection, you’ll know the condition of the chimney before you move into your new home.
The different levels of chimney inspection
There are three levels of chimney inspection as sanctioned by the Chimney
Safety Institute of America (CSIA):
Level 1: The basic inspection.
Level 2: Performed when:
- A new heating appliance is being connected to the chimney or other alterations are being made
- A fire or other event may have caused damage to the chimney
- The home is being sold
Level 3: This inspection usually involves partial or complete dismantling of the chimney and is only performed when severe damage is known to exist.
Increase the safety and performance of your chimney
Fluesbrothers is available year-round for licensed chimney inspections to help you keep your chimney system working safely and efficiently. Schedule an appointment or get your questions answered by calling (913) 236-7141. You can also reach out with our simple contact form.