When searching to buy the perfect house, a home inspection is obvious but the safety of the fireplace is often overlooked. Let’s discuss why chimney inspection when buying a home is critical.
The right service company can do much more than clean your chimney. They can repair your broken fireplace, add a chimney cap, and perform complete inspections. If you’ve never had your chimney inspected before, it’s probably time to schedule one since annual inspections are recommended (even required in some cases).
When selling a house or preparing for colder seasons when you’ll burn cozy fires in your fireplace, a chimney inspection is one critical home maintenance task you should not overlook.
The safety of your home and family could depend on a professional inspection recognizing an issue and recommending a repair before you build your first fire of the season.
Here’s what you need to know about getting a chimney and fireplace inspection when purchasing a home.
Why You Need More Than a Home Inspection
Homebuyers and sellers rarely close a deal without hiring an inspector to check out everything in the house. While a general home inspector might take a quick look at the fireplace/chimney, a home inspection is not as thorough as what’s included in an evaluation by a professional chimney inspector.
A home inspector might note significant cracks or a damper that doesn’t work, but they won’t be able to detail the complete condition of your chimney or recommend the right repairs.
It’s similar to an HVAC inspection or annual maintenance. You want a professional, certified HVAC technician to handle service to your heating and cooling system—not your general handyman.
To help ensure the safety of the chimney that comes with your new home, you need a chimney company to inspect every inch of the firebox and flue to recommend repairs. Doing so helps maintain the integrity of your fireplaces burning system, as well as the resale value of your home.
If your home inspector misses a significant issue (because it’s not obvious damage) or recommends the wrong repair, the chimney can become a serious safety hazard.
What Happens During a Chimney Evaluation?
Did you know that your chimney is an intricate part of your home? Chimney inspectors follow a strict, universal level-of-service model to reach every nook and cranny of the chimney—even the parts you can’t see without the right kind of equipment.
When selecting the level of inspection needed for your chimney, be sure your inspection company has the appropriate certifications to inspect your chimney at these levels safely:
While this is the most basic, entry-level inspection option, it’s still a thorough review of your chimney. Your inspector examines the readily accessible portions of your chimney to confirm the integrity of the structure is sound. The inspector also confirms that all chimney components work properly. If you maintain annual inspections and haven’t had any significant issues with your chimney, then a Level 1 inspection might be all that’s needed.
If it’s been a while since your last inspection or your chimney professional discovers an issue during a Level One inspection, you probably need a Level Two inspection. Your inspector can utilize camera equipment to perform a closer, more thorough look inside the full height of your chimney. They might also use tools to access hard-to-inspect parts of your chimney. Your inspector will also visit your attic, basement, or crawl space to inspect areas around or connected to your chimney.
It’s not as common, but if your chimney calls for a more intense inspection due to significant damage or hard-to-reach areas that a Level Two inspection can’t cover, you’ll need a Level Three inspection. Your inspector could require the use of more substantial tools to remove portions of the chimney wall or coverings to complete the inspection. In some cases, your inspector might need to demolish and rebuild sections of your chimney to complete the inspection and repairs.
Level 2 inspections are the most common type of chimney inspection, and it’s required when you sell a home. If you’ve had renovations that involved your chimney, or you plan to make updates, you’ll need a Level Two Inspection to review the safe completion of the work.
You’ll also need a Level Two inspection if you’re home experiences damage from weather, a fire, or an earthquake. If you change the type of fuel used in your fireplace, get a new flue liner, you’ll need a Level Two inspection from a professional chimney sweep to review the completion and accuracy of the completed job.
Contact us at 913-642-6171 to schedule your inspection today!
I Have a Gas Fireplace. Do I Still Need An Inspection?
Even though a gas fireplace puts off less smoke, it still uses the chimney to dispel the heat and smoke from the fire. If you use gas logs in your fireplace, DO NOT skip getting your chimney inspected! All chimneys work best and remain safer with regular maintenance from a service professional.
Can I Inspect My Own Chimney?
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your chimney. You might be the first to notice a crack in the exterior brick or discover that the damper won’t open or close properly.
However, for the safest fireplace and chimney operation, hire a certified professional to conduct your inspections. Regular Level One inspections cost less than a Level Two or Three inspection. Plus, routine inspections can keep you from expensive chimney repairs that can happen if your chimney goes too long without a professional look.
Your inspector provides a full detailed report after the appointment is finished. A certified technician will note any areas that need repair or cleaning for the continued safe operation of your chimney.
What is Chimney Certification?
When choosing the chimney sweep company to perform your inspection, make sure you hire a certified technician. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) provides training and certification to chimney sweeps across the U.S. This certification ensures that your inspector has the proper training to work in and around your chimney safely. They also understand the national standards for safe chimney structure and use.
Chimney Inspectors Help Keep You Safe!
Chimney inspectors help protect you and your family by recognizing unsafe conditions in your chimney system. Full Service Chimney has more than 30 years of experience performing inspections to homes in the Kansas City area.
You can trust our certified technicians for honest, thorough inspections in your home!