Why You Should Schedule Regular Fireplace and Chimney Inspections
Do you remember the last time you scheduled a fireplace and chimney inspection? If the answer is no—or you’ve never had your chimney inspected—it’s time to schedule an appointment.
Keep reading to learn why chimney inspections are so important, and learn how often you should schedule a visit from your local chimney sweep.
The Dangers of Skipping a Chimney Inspection
If you’ve skipped your annual inspection for the past decade without any issues, you’re probably not convinced that fireplace and chimney inspections are necessary. But just because you’ve managed to go this long without an inspection doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. A dirty or damaged chimney is a huge safety hazard, and you could be one fire away from disaster.
Every time you burn wood in your fireplace, creosote travels up your chimney and sticks to the flue. If you don’t clean and inspect your chimney regularly, creosote can build up and create a thick, tar-like, and highly flammable coating.
It only takes one spark to ignite a creosote fire, which can spread to the rest of your home. And that’s not the only danger of a damaged chimney. Cracked flues or faulty dampers can leak carbon monoxide into your home.
Inspecting your chimney is a great way to ensure that you don’t have any deadly hazards lurking inside your flue. Plus, it can save you money. Cleaning a dirty chimney only costs a few hundred dollars, but repairing damage from a chimney fire can cost several thousand.
How Often Should You Inspect a Chimney?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, you should inspect wood-burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, and vents at least once a year. The best time to schedule a fireplace and chimney inspection is in the fall, shortly before you light your first fire of the season.
You may need to schedule more than one inspection in a year if you:
- Sell your home: It’s almost always cheaper to repair your chimney before selling your home than negotiating with a buyer under contract. You should schedule a fireplace and chimney inspection before putting your home on the market to avoid unexpected costs.
- Buy a home: Home inspectors typically can’t see the damage inside your new home’s chimney, which is why you should schedule a separate chimney inspection before you close. Even if you don’t catch any dangerous issues, you’ll have peace of mind that your new home is in good shape.
- Notice damage: If you suffer a chimney fire or notice damage to your flue liner, chimney cap, or other portions of your chimney, you should schedule an inspection right away. Assessing and fixing problems immediately can save you money and prevent safety concerns.
How To Inspect a Chimney
You know you need to schedule a fireplace and chimney inspection. But what will the inspection involve, and how do you know which type to choose? Here’s a simple two-step guide to inspecting a chimney.
Choose Your Chimney Inspection Level
The first step in the fireplace and chimney inspection process is choosing the right chimney inspection level for your needs. Most companies offer three levels, and they range from basic to invasive.
Level 1: Basic Fireplace and Chimney Inspection
If you’ve been diligent about scheduling yearly inspections and haven’t noticed any issues with your chimney, a level one inspection is probably the best choice.
A chimney professional visually inspects your firebox, flue, and masonry during a level one inspection. This inspection level is quick and affordable because it doesn’t require any special equipment, but it might not catch every potential issue.
Level 2: Chimney Inspection With Camera
You should schedule a more in-depth fireplace and chimney inspection every few years or before buying or selling a home. Level two inspections uncover more issues than visual inspections because they use a camera to scan for cracks, debris, and creosote buildup.
You should also minimally schedule a level two chimney inspection if you make any changes to your chimney or suffer from a chimney fire or other issue. You might need an additional level three inspection if a chimney professional finds a significant problem.
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Level 3: Invasive Inspection
Other levels of inspections can identify chimney issues, but only level three inspections can get to the root cause. That’s because level three inspections typically involve some demolition or removal of walls, ceilings, masonry, or chimney caps. After exposing the interior chimney structures, your chimney inspector uses special tools to determine a repair method.
Contact a Reputable Company
Once you determine what chimney inspection level you need, it’s time to search for a local chimney company. Look for an established chimney inspector with plenty of good reviews from other building owners in your area. Depending on the company and inspection type you choose, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars to check your chimney.
Schedule an Inspection To Know If Your Chimney Is Safe
It’s tempting to assume your fireplace is safe, but there’s only one way to know for sure: scheduling a fireplace and chimney inspection. For a few hundred dollars, you can prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fires and, most importantly—protect your family.
If you’re looking for a chimney inspection company in St. Louis with decades of experience, turn to Approved Home Improvements. Our team has been serving the area since 1991, and our owner uses techniques passed down to him from two generations of expert masons.
Whether you need a basic crazy cheap chimney sweep for $119 or an in-depth level three inspection, our team can help. We thoroughly assess your chimney to find issues other companies miss and provide repairs that keep your home safe for years.
Get in touch today to schedule your fireplace and chimney inspection.