If you own a fireplace or a heating appliance that’s vented through your chimney, whether it’s gas, wood, or pellet-burning, you know it’s important to have your chimney inspected and cleaned on an annual basis. This is something you know you can’t put off, but perhaps you don’t know why. There are several things that we’ll look for when you give Firesafe Chimney Service a call and get an appointment on our calendar to have your chimney inspected and swept.

Three Levels of Inspection

chimneys on rooftopThere are three levels of chimney inspection, and at Firesafe Chimney Service, we have years of experience at all three. If you have been diligent about getting your fireplace inspected and cleaned every year, we’ll probably only need to do a Level One inspection. This includes inspecting everything that is easily accessible. We’ll check out your dampers, your chimney cap and crown, the condition of your bricks and mortar, and your flashing. We’ll also make sure there aren’t any obstructions or high levels of flammable materials sticking to your chimney’s interior.

If there are issues with the interior of your chimney, if you suspect you may have had a chimney fire, if you’ve made changes to the heating system, or if you’re selling your home, we’ll need to conduct a Level Two inspection. This involves using our video equipment to do an inspection of the interior of your chimney as well. This allows us to get a really good view of your chimney’s inner structure, to see if there are cracks or dings on your chimney liner, and to make sure there are no major blockages that are occurring on the interior of your chimney. We’ll also be able to see if you’ve had a chimney fire or any other damage to the interior structure of your chimney

In a Level Three inspection, we’ll need to take apart some sections of your chimney to get in and see the extent of damage that may have occurred. This level of inspection includes all of the tasks in a Level One and Level Two inspection as well. We’ll only undertake a Level Three inspection if we believe that there are hazards involved that could threaten the safety of your family and your home.

Clearing out Creosote

One of the major things that we’ll be checking for is creosote buildup. No matter what type of fuel you burn, vapor and chemicals are released during the combustion process. As that vapor rises up through your chimney, it condenses near the top where the surface of your chimney’s interior is cooler than the smoke. Over time, that condensation will build up into a layer of either black or brown, shiny or sticky gunk that smells bad and is extremely flammable. Even as little as an eighth of an inch of creosote buildup is enough to catch a random spark or ember and cause a chimney fire. Firesafe Chimney Service has the tools to inspect your chimney’s interior and clean out that nasty layer of potentially dangerous creosote.

Digging for Damage

We’ll also be looking for damage that may have occurred over a year of use. Did you know that you may have had a chimney fire without even being aware of it? Most of the time, this is the case. A fire needs oxygen to burn, and your chimney usually doesn’t have enough oxygen for a really hot chimney fire to take place. This is good because your home isn’t as likely to burn down, but it can also be bad, because you may have damage to the interior of your chimney that could cause major problems, such as damage to your chimney liner. It is important that we discover these potentially hazardous problems before they get too severe, both for the safety of your home and for the sake of your bank account. Minor repairs are quick, relatively inexpensive, and easy to repair. If left untreated, those minor repairs can cause major damage to the structure of your chimney, at which point we will be discussing repairs that will take more time and more money to make right.

Potential Problems

Not only will we be looking for creosote and major repairs, but we’ll also take a look at any other aspect of your chimney that could have the potential to cause problems. We’ll make sure your chimney cap is in good shape to keep out leaves, debris, and critters looking to make a home in your chimney. We’ll make sure your chimney crown is in a good state of repair, as well as your flashing at the base of the chimney. These areas have the potential to become areas of leakage which could have a negative impact on the structure of your chimney. We’ll also check out the condition of the bricks and mortar to make sure there are no weak areas.

Expertise and Experience

When it comes to all things fireplace and chimney related, Jim Walling and the professionals at Firesafe Chimney Service know exactly what it takes to make sure that your chimney is in the best shape ever so that your home and family are kept safe all winter long. Make an appointment today to have your chimney inspected and swept, and enjoy a winter of safe fireplace use.