Having a fireplace definitely creates an ambiance in the home. However, before you start your blazing winter fires, you need to make sure your chimney is safe to use. Because of the intricacy of the construction of fireplaces, it is recommended that you have an industry professional inspect your fireplace in full once a year. There are three basic levels of chimney inspections that we will go over below.

Fire Safe Chimney - Inspecting Your Chimney

  1. Level 1 – this is the most basic type of inspection and one that an existing homeowner should have every year before they use the fireplace again. The inspector will not have to break open any masonry work or will not use any invasive tools for this type of inspection.
  2. Level 2 – this inspection is a bit more involved, but no invasive methods or destruction will occur to the actual structure. If you suspect your chimney liner is damaged or the house is changing ownership, this type of inspection should be ordered. In addition to the standard inspection techniques used at level one, the inspector will use video scanning to inspect the chimney throughout. This inspection is also recommended if you are changing the functionality of the chimney, meaning changing over from wood to gas, or the like.
  3. Level 3 – this is the most involved for the inspector as they will remove masonry work if need be to inspect the structure. This is generally done if a level one or two inspection reveals some type of problem with the chimney.

Homeowners sometimes do not realize how dangerous it can be to operate a fireplace when the chimney or lining is damaged. They dismiss a noise or a small backwash of smoke and go about their business. They buy a new home assuming the structure has been inspected prior. Do not make this mistake. This is one area of the home where added precaution is a plus.