Chimney Inspections: The inspection of chimneys is an important service offered by Oliver Twist. Chimney inspections come in many forms and you should be aware that not all inspections are alike. We follow the NFPA – National Fire Protection Association. There are three categories or levels of inspections.
Level I Inspection
Level I chimney inspection is the most basic level of inspection that is completed during each chimney cleaning or sweeping.
- Routine or annual evaluations of venting system
- An appliance connected to the system is being replaced with a similar appliance.
During chimney cleaning or sweeping:
A level I inspection is limited to readily accessible portions of the venting system, and accessible portions of the connected appliance(s) and the chimney connection. The inspector will check the readily accessible portions of the chimney, its enclosed structure and the flue. A level I inspection includes verification that the flue is not blocked or significantly restricted.
Level II Inspection
Level II inspection is more detailed and thorough than a Level I inspection and is the recommended inspection when conditions of use for the appliance or venting system are changing, or when a Level I inspection reveals the need for a more detailed inspection. Several instances where a Level II inspection is specifically recommended include:
- Replacement of an appliance with one of dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency
- Prior to a flue relining
- Upon sale or transfer of the property
- After an event likely to have caused damage to the chimney, such as a chimney fire or other sudden occurrence event
A Level II chimney inspection includes all of the requirements of a Level I inspection, as well as the following:
- Inspection of accessible areas of attics, basements and crawlspaces
- Accessible areas of the chimney exterior and interior
- Accessible portions of the appliances and chimney connection
- Video scanning or other thorough inspection of the flue interior
- Evaluation of the flue lining to determine that its material and sizing is appropriate for the appliances being served
- Proper clearance to combustible in the accessible areas listed above
- Proper construction and condition of the chimney system in the accessible areas listed above
While the Level II inspection is a rather thorough inspection and requires access to many areas of the building, it does not require removal of permanent parts of the building, such as siding, chase covers or wall coverings.
Level III Inspection
A Level III chimney inspection is the most detailed of all of the inspection types and includes inspection of concealed areas of the building. However, examination concealed areas will b limited to areas reasonably suspected of containing hazards that cannot be evaluated otherwise.
A Level III inspection includes all areas covered in a Level I / II inspections and inspection of concealed areas to investigate known or suspected problems. In as much as certain portions of a Level III inspection require destructive action to the building, the inspector will discuss these areas with the building owner prior to the inspection.
Frequency of Inspection
NFPA – National Fire Protection Association recommends that all chimneys, fireplaces and vents be inspected annually. In addition to this requirement, there are other times when chimney and venting systems should be inspected, such as:
- After any unusual or sudden occurrence event, such as a chimney fire, lightning strike or earthquake
- Prior to purchasing a home with an existing chimney
- Whenever changes are made to a chimney or vent system, including replacement of connected appliances
- Prior to major system repairs