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Three Levels of Chimney Inspections

As homeowners, we expect our fireplaces to burn safely and efficiently each time we use them. Most of us don’t understand what is happening between the firebox and the top of the flue – particularly when chimney performance issues arise. Whether you are experiencing a fireplace problem or need regular maintenance, it may be time to schedule a chimney inspection. At Clean Sweeps of Michigan, we offer 3 levels of chimney inspections for all your chimney needs.

The importance of chimney inspections

man inspecting fireplace“A chimney inspection is like an annual dental check-up,” Director of Education for the CSIA Ashley Eldridge said. “It’s preventative maintenance that helps minimize potential hazards.” Chimney inspections are an important part of regular fireplace maintenance. An inspection can identify the source of a venting issue. It also verifies that a chimney is safe for use after a natural disaster and ensure a fireplace system is in good condition before a real estate transaction.

Three levels of chimney inspections

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) states that “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” To meet this standard, the NFPA came up with three levels of inspections to standardize inspections for all chimneys.

Level 1 inspection

Level 1 chimney inspections are the simplest and most common inspection. Chimney sweeps recommend level 1 inspections for regularly maintained fireplace systems. When you are not experiencing performance problems or damages, a level 1 inspection is all you need. During a level 1 chimney inspection, the chimney sweep will inspect the accessible portions of the chimney’s interior and exterior.

Level 2 inspection

Level 2 chimney inspections provide homeowners with a more in-depth look at the condition of their chimney system. During a level 2 chimney inspection, we use technology such as closed-circuit cameras to inspect the entire length of the flue. This gives chimney sweeps the ability to view areas of the chimney that are otherwise inaccessible.

We recommend a level 2 chimney inspections when changes to the fireplace or chimney have been made. We also recommend this inspection when installing a new insert, when you reline the flue, or when you switch fuel sources. You also need a level 2 inspection before buying or selling a home.

Level 3 inspection

Level 3 chimney inspections are the most in-depth and most invasive. You only need this chimney inspections in the event of suspected structural damage such as after a chimney fire or natural disaster. During a level 3 chimney inspection, part of the masonry of the chimney, surrounding walls or ceiling, or chimney cap may need removal to better access the chimney or flue.

Schedule your chimney inspection today!

Whether you are preparing to move, experiencing a performance problem, or want to ensure your chimney is venting safely and efficiently, now is the perfect time to schedule a chimney inspection. Contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today to schedule your next chimney inspection!

We’ve Got Chimney Caps & Pots

Chimneys are carefully built and constructed; every component has a purpose in helping the fireplace burn safely and efficiently. One important component of the chimney is the chimney cap, which protects the fireplace system from moisture, debris, and more.

What is a chimney cap?pretty home with red chimney

A chimney cap is a fitted metal hood that sits on top of the chimney structure and protects the top of the flue. Chimney caps are designed specifically to let smoke and gas out while keeping anything else from getting in; a solid top and mesh or wire sides encourage safe venting but keep the elements out of the chimney.

The importance of a capped chimney

Chimney caps do more than just adorn the roofline; they protect the fireplace’s interior from the elements, debris, and more. The following are four ways a chimney cap helps protect your chimney system.

  1. Keeps water out. Bricks and mortar are used to build chimneys because they can withstand the elements. Interior fireplace components, however, are built to handle heat – not moisture. The chimney cap covers and protects the top of the flue against water entry.
  2. Prevents animal entry. Birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals view a chimney as the perfect place to build a nest or hide from predators. Unfortunately, animal entry can cause significant damage to your chimney. A well-fitted, correctly installed chimney cap can prevent animal entry by leaving no space between the metal and the mortar for them to squeeze through to get into the flue.
  3. Reduces the risk of a roof fire. Stray coals and embers can sometimes make their way up the flue and out of the chimney; without a chimney cap to stop them, these sparks can ignite the roof or other nearby buildings or landscaping. The metal top and mesh sides of a chimney cap prevent embers from leaving the flue.
  4. Stops debris from causing blockages. Leaves, small branches, and other blowing debris can fall into an uncapped chimney; this often causes chimney blockages that prevent proper drafting. By protecting the top of the flue from debris, chimney caps can help prevent chimney blockages from occurring.

Do I need a new chimney cap?

There are several reasons you may need a new chimney cap.

  1. Old chimney cap has been damaged. A chimney cap that has been damaged or deteriorated beyond repair should be replaced.
  2. Changes to the chimney structure. If the chimney structure itself has been altered or changed, the old chimney cap may no longer fit.
  3. Change or alter the roofline. While chimney caps serve an important functional purpose, they can also be decorative. Custom chimney caps can be built to highlight the aesthetics of your roofline and improve the curb appeal of your home.

Check out our chimney caps at Clean Sweeps of Michigan!

The fireplace store at Clean Sweeps of Michigan offers a wide variety of chimney caps and chimney pots. Our team of fireplace experts can help you find a quality, well-fitting chimney cap that can keep your fireplace burning safely and efficiently for years to come. For more information on our selection of chimney caps or to have your chimney inspected, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

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