Elements of a Fireplace Inspection — and Why It’s Important!

Simply put, if you have a fireplace and a chimney, you will find yourself in need of a Fireplace Inspection. When? Well, to steal a line from Casablanca: “Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life,” — or at least as long as you own and use the fireplace.

Today, we here at 1st Choice Chimney wanted to help you understand what is involved in a fireplace inspection so that you know what to expect when you hire our Dallas and Fort Worth chimney sweeps. On a side note, always make sure that you hire a chimney sweep who is certified by the CSIA and insured. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is the top industry standard for chimney sweeps and we pride ourselves on carrying the highest CSIA certification and classification. You can look up each of the 1st Choice Chimney technicians on the CSIA Website to see their certification.

What to Expect From a Fireplace Inspection

The CSIA and 1st Choice Chimney utilize three different levels of Fireplace Inspection.

Level 1 Fireplace Inspection

A level one fireplace inspection is the most common type of inspection and should be performed once or twice a year depending on how often you use your fireplace. If you use your chimney regularly with no problems, this is the right inspection for you. Here’s what’s involved in our level one chimney sweep and inspection:

  • Complete soot removal from your firebox, masonry brick, grate, damper, flue, refractory panels, fireback, and smoke shelf
  • Examination of all readily accessible portions of your chimney’s interior
  • Visual inspection of the chimney exterior from the ground
  • Possible identification of chimney obstructions or combustible deposits

To access some areas, we may need to utilize common tools like a pair of pliers or a screwdriver, but in this level of inspection there is no damage to any building structure or surface finish.

Level 2 Fireplace Inspection

The level two fireplace inspection is more in depth and does not need to be conducted as frequently as the level one inspection. Most often, this more detailed inspection is conducted when there is a change to your heating system like changes in fuel type, flue relining, or replacement or addition of an appliance. It is also recommended when selling or transferring ownership of the property, when an operational malfunction occurs, or in the event of a building fire, chimney fire, earthquake, or strange storm that may have caused damage to the chimney. Our level two chimney sweep and inspection includes:

  • Inspection of any part of the chimney that can be accessed including: roof flashing, siding, cap inspection, chimney chase, spark arrestor, termination, cricket, and attic
  • Color video scanning to examine the internal surfaces and joints within the chimney and flue

Roof access is necessary for this level of inspection.

Level 3 Fireplace Inspection

Generally speaking, a level three fireplace inspection is recommended when an earlier inspection indicates that there may be a hidden problem or when special tools are required to access concealed areas of your chimney or flue. Please note that on occasion, this may require the removal of drywall or other components adjacent to the chimney to allow the technician to inspect for proper clearances and construction in hidden areas. The level three chimney inspection includes:

  • Video inspection of the internal surfaces and joints of your chimney and flue
  • Creosote removal, creo chemical treatment, curing, and chain removal

Creosote is a residue created when smoke, gases, water vapor, tar fog, unburned wood particles, and other by-products of combustion condense on the inside of a chimney. It is highly combustible, so in sufficient quantities and at high enough temperatures it can cause chimney fires. That’s why regular level one fireplace inspections are so important.

Understanding what to expect from your fireplace inspection can help you feel at ease with what is going to happen. If you’re in the Dallas or Fort Worth areas, Contact Us Today to learn more about our chimney sweep services.