Your Chimney Inspection Service in the Atlanta Metro Area
Your fireplace is one of the most important parts of your home. It affects the coziness and look of your space as well as your home’s value, and it can be essential for heating. Unfortunately, a chimney and fireplace in need of repair can negatively impact your indoor air quality and even your safety.
Whether you’re buying a new home or have lived in your house for many years, regular chimney inspections are essential for your safety. Many issues can happen with your chimney and fireplace that are not obvious because many of the components are behind walls. A slow leak or any issues that cause smoke or gases to enter your home can pose a serious health risk and cause property damage. If soot or other debris build up, you could even be at risk of a fire.
A slow water leak in your fireplace can lead to structural damage, mold and health issues. Any gases or smoke entering your home can put your health at risk and cause lung irritation as well as injuries. You don’t want smoke or mold building up in your house and affecting you and your household. A chimney and fireplace inspection can detect small issues ahead of time before they become worse.
Our Chimney Inspection Process
At Atlanta Chimney Doctor, our team is uniquely qualified to address chimney and fireplace issues. We have extensive expertise and stay up to date with the latest fire and building codes. We understand what it takes to bring your fireplace and chimney up to code and keep it safe for you and your family so you can rest easy.
Many homeowners do not schedule preventative maintenance and inspections for their chimney on a regular basis, which can be a costly mistake. Don’t wait until water pours into your fireplace when it rains or you notice water coming down the walls. Regular inspections can help you notice problems with your liners, chimney, masonry, chimney caps and other issues before they result in the need for expensive, emergency repairs.
A video scan is where we use a camera system which is lowered into the chimney or pushed up from the bottom. The camera allows us to inspect the chimney from a range of just a few inches instead of just looking from the top or bottom. The camera image is viewed on a TV monitor by the inspector. Video inspections may be recommended if the customer or sweep suspect certain problems. Video inspections are often recommended after a chimney fire or some other form of damage to a chimney and are a routine part of a level II or level III inspection.
You should be aware that even the most thorough inspection will not reveal all problems. Some areas of a chimney simply are not assessable due to the construction of the house. Be sure to discuss any specific concerns with your sweep. The recommended inspection technique will often be based on your comments and concerns. This works similar to a visit to your doctor. Your doctor probably doesn’t do an EKG and take a full set of X-rays during every visit. However, if you tell the doctor you have chest pains, they will perform the tests related to that problem.
Explanation of Inspections
The inspections of chimneys are an important service offered by Atlanta Chimney Doctor in Acworth, Alpharetta, Atlanta, Kennesaw, Marietta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Dallas. Chimney inspections come in many forms, and you should be aware that not all inspections are alike. At Atlanta Chimney Doctor, we offer professional, affordable inspections that follow the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) recommended inspection procedures.
NFPA divides the inspection procedure into three levels. The circumstances which give rise to the inspection determine what level of inspection is to be conducted. A level I inspection is the most basic level of inspection, while level II and level III inspections are progressively more detailed and comprehensive. A Level I inspection is completed during each chimney cleaning or sweeping.
Level I Inspection
A level I inspection is the recommended level when an evaluation of the chimney system for continued service is needed and the conditions of use are not changing. This could include:
- Routine or annual evaluations of the venting system
- An appliance connected to the system is being replaced with a similar appliance
- During chimney cleaning or sweeping
A level I inspection is limited to readily accessible portions of the venting system and accessible portions of the connected appliance(s) and the chimney connection. The inspector will check the readily accessible portions of the chimney, its enclosing structure, and the flue. A level I inspection includes verification that the flue is not blocked or significantly restricted.
Level II Inspection
A level II inspection is more detailed and thorough than a level I inspection and is the recommended inspection when conditions of use for the appliance or venting system are changing, or when a level I inspection reveals the need for a more detailed inspection. Several instances where a level II inspection is specifically recommended include:
- Replacement of an appliance with one of dissimilar type, input rating, or efficiency
- Prior to a flue relining
- Upon sale or transfer of the property
- After an event likely to have caused damage to the chimney, such as a chimney fire or other sudden occurrence event
A level II inspection includes all of the requirements of a level I inspection as well as:
- Inspection of accessible areas of attics, basements, and crawlspaces
- Accessible areas of the chimney exterior and interior
- Accessible portions of the appliance and chimney connection
- Video scanning, or other thorough inspection, of the flue interior
- Evaluation of the flue lining to determine that its material and sizing is appropriate for the appliances being served
- Proper clearance to combustibles in the accessible areas listed above
- Proper construction and condition of the chimney system in the accessible areas listed above
While the level II inspection is a rather thorough inspection and requires access to many areas of the building, it does not require removal of permanent parts of the building, such as siding, chase covers, or wall coverings.
Level III Inspection
A level III inspection is the most detailed of all of the inspection types and includes inspection of concealed areas of the building. However, the examination of concealed areas will be limited to areas reasonably suspected of containing hazards that cannot be evaluated otherwise.
A level III inspection includes all areas covered in a level I and level II inspection and inspection of concealed areas to investigate known or suspected problems. Certain portions of a level III inspection require destructive action to the building, and the inspector will discuss these areas with the building owner prior to the inspection.
How Often Do I Need a Chimney Inspection?
In general, you should clean your chimney and have it inspected at least once a year. If you use your fireplace very often or notice a creosote glaze, you will need to contact a chimney inspection service. In addition, schedule an inspection if you have recently had very heavy winds or storms or noticed any problems with your chimney or fireplace.
Frequency of Inspection
NFPA recommends that all chimneys, fireplaces, and vents be inspected annually. In addition to this requirement, there are other times when chimney and venting systems should be inspected, such as:
- After any unusual, or sudden occurrence event, such as a chimney fire, lightning strike, or earthquake
- Prior to purchasing a home with an existing chimney
- Whenever changes are made to a chimney or vent system, including replacement of connected appliances
- Prior to major system repairs
Contact Us Today for Chimney Inspection Services
At Atlanta Chimney Doctor, we are experts in chimneys and fireplaces. We can help assess your system and address any underlying issues. Our honest and friendly team is thorough and takes the time to carefully explain what we find in your inspection. If you’d like to learn more about our fireplace inspection services or schedule an inspection of your fireplace or chimney, call us at (678) 525-7943 or request an inspection online today.