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A Home Inspector Is Not a Chimney Expert

You believe that you have found the house of your dreams. You want to make an offer, but you will need to schedule a professional home inspection before the sale is final. This is necessary to ensure that all of the systems in the home are working properly and safely. Receiving a thumbs up from the inspector may lead you to think that you will not have to worry about taking care of repairs. However, Atlas Chimney would like to tell you why you should consider getting a second opinion. Our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified technicians have the experience and training to spot chimney damage and other problems. We would like to tell you more about the importance of a professional chimney inspection while buying a home.

Why do I need a professional chimney inspection in addition to a home inspection?

While the home inspector you hire will be able to tell you about foundation problems and electrical and plumbing issues, there are certain areas outside of his or her expertise, according to Trulia. Although your home inspector will most likely shine a flashlight up the chimney, he or she will not be closely examining the interior. A professional chimney technician will perform a Level 2 inspection. Level 2 inspections use a special video camera to closely examine every inch of the chimney. This not only ensures that possible problems will be found, but it also provides photographic evidence.

What does a Level 2 chimney inspection include?

Several decades ago, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developed three different levels of professional chimney inspections. The most basic Level 1 inspection includes checking out the readily accessible parts of the chimney. This checks the soundness of the structure and makes sure the chimney is clear from obstructions. A Level 2 inspection involves a closer examination of the chimney and includes the attic, basement, and crawl space. Real estate transactions and changes to the system require Level 2 inspections. They are also required after a malfunction of the chimney such as a fire or an external event like an earthquake or tornado. A Level 3 inspection is necessary for further investigation to diagnose a possible hazard. This may involve the removal of a chimney wall or even the destruction of the entire structure.

Considering buying a home? Don’t forget to contact us at Atlas Chimney to schedule a professional chimney inspection to be sure the chimney will work safely and efficiently.

Chimney Inspection Facts

You have most likely heard that you must have your chimney professionally swept and inspected every year, but do you know why? Knowing what happens during a routine chimney maintenance appointment can help you understand why you need to schedule it. For over 25 years, Atlas Chimney has been providing professional chimney maintenance services to residents of the Austin area. We would like to tell you more about what we do when we sweep and inspect chimneys.

Creosote Removal

When you have a wood-burning fireplace, creosote is a fact of life. During the combustion process, this natural compound forms as a residue that sticks to the inner chimney walls. Over the winter, a large amount of creosote can accumulate inside your chimney, and this can cause blockages. Creosote is also highly flammable. If the internal temperature of your chimney gets hot enough, it can ignite the deposits of creosote. This will start a chimney fire. You can count on Atlas Chimney to remove every bit of creosote that has accumulated inside your chimney.

Levels of Inspections

To set the standards for chimney professionals, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developed three levels of chimney inspections. When you have your annual chimney inspection, it is a Level One, which, according to HouseLogic, is just a visual check of the fireplace and chimney without special tools.

A Level Two is needed if you have experienced a weather event like a tornado or an earthquake. You might also need it if you have made any changes to your fireplace, or if you have bought a house. This level of inspection includes the same as the basic level as well as a check of the attic, basement, and crawl space. It also includes a video scan of the interior of your chimney.

The third level of chimney inspection is the most serious and can require the destruction of your chimney. A Level Three inspection is required when a problem is not able to be found in a Level Two inspection. Since this level of inspection is very expensive, Atlas Chimney will give you written and photographic evidence of the reasons why this level of inspection is needed.

Contact Us

Keep your chimney working safely and efficiently by scheduling your annual chimney inspection with Atlas Chimney. Contact us today for our professional chimney maintenance services.

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