Why Inspect Your Chimney?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a non-profit organization that produces the publication NFPA 211. This publication sets the standard for chimneys, fireplaces, vents and solid fuel-burning appliances. The findings of NFPA provide the basis for building and fire safety codes across the country. Full Service Chimney, Kansas City’s premier chimney sweep, bases its chimney inspections on these safety codes and backs its findings with remedies/repairs accepted by the NFPA. The NFPA recommends an annual evaluation of all chimneys, fireplaces and vents.
The Purpose of a Chimney Inspection is to:
- Assure chimney integrity for all fuels: oil, gas, wood or coal.
- Check for injuries and voids that may allow exhaust into the home. These conditions often can only be discovered by Full Service Chimney.
- Catch problems before they cause expensive trouble.
- Provide peace of mind.
- Note flammable creosote which builds up on the walls of the chimney with use and recommend appropriate cleaning method.
- Alert you to evidence of water penetration. Rainwater penetration damage is a major cause of chimney deterioration.
Preventive maintenance is always more cost-effective than making chimney repairs that could have been avoided. Annual inspections are critical for regularly used chimneys. Even if used occasionally, a certified CSIA chimney sweep should routinely inspect and clean, if necessary, your chimney. The importance of regular chimney maintenance is emphasized by the NFPA. This nonprofit organization, dedicated solely to fire prevention, states: “Chimneys, fireplaces and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”
How Are Chimneys Inspected?
Full Service Chimney primarily uses Chim-Scan video inspection equipment to inspect fireplace flues. A monitor is set up in the living area next to the fireplace and a camera system is sent up the chimney’s flue to check for gaps, cracks, voids or other abnormalities. On the monitor you can see the interior of the chimney flue as the camera goes up the chimney.
Some of the items noted on our written reports, which are substantiated by our Chim-Scan video inspection equipment, include:
- Nests, limbs and other blockages
- Debris accumulated on smoke shelf
- Deterioration of smoke shelf or damper
- Broken or missing tile liners
- Loose or missing mortar joints
- Improper construction
- Cracks, even hairline cracks, in flue liners
- Hidden breechings
- Creosote build-up
- Blow-outs caused by chimney fires
Additionally, Full Service Chimney, Kansas City’s Premier chimney sweep provides a visual inspection of the firebox and exterior chimney. Both safety and maintenance items are noted on our written report and repair costs are outlined accordingly.
For masonry chimneys we look for loose or missing bricks, chipped bricks (spalling), cracks, holes, a leaning chimney, and eroded mortar joints. We check the condition of the fireplace for wear and tear or breakage. The damper should open and close easily. The smoke chamber should be free of gaps and debris on the smoke shelf.