When and Why Chimney Inspections and Sweeping Must be Done
According to the National Fire Protection Association Standard 211, chimneys have to be inspected at least once every year for safety and any chimney repairs. Chimney cleaning must be done as often as needed to keep your chimney clean and safe to use, and different types of chimneys have different sweeping frequencies. Wood chimneys should be cleaned four times a year, bituminous coal chimneys twice a year, smokeless coal chimneys at least once a year, and oil chimneys once a year.
Your chimney needs proper cleaning and inspections because it is unsafe to let flammable deposits or debris rest within the chimney. Acidic material is left in the chimney as a result of combustion that will cause premature deterioration if it is left unchecked. If creosote buildup gets out of hand, there is a chance that it will catch fire and spread to other areas of the house.
It usually takes 45 minutes to an hour to clean and inspect your chimney, and it is an important process to undergo. Even if the chimney is not used for an extended period of time, you will need to clean out the debris left by birds and other creatures who wander into your chimney to prevent it from being blocked. Prevent dangerous flammable material and other types of buildup from gathering in your chimney by making sure that your chimney is swept and inspected at least once per year and possibly more or as often as it needs.
What Happens During Chimney Inspection and Sweeping?
Typically, chimney inspectors and sweepers offer three different levels of inspection. The level one inspection is the bare minimum part of the inspection service that you will be offered. This level requires a visual inspection of the fireplace where the service technician will inspect the readily accessible parts of your chimney without any special equipment involved. They will check for the basic soundness and structure of your chimney while ensuring that there are no combustible deposits left inside of it.
The level two inspection is carried out when you need to do some minor construction or maintenance in order to make some changes to your chimney. This can include a fuel change, changes to the chimney construction, chimney cap or repairs in the event of a dramatic weather event. You will also be required to have a level two inspection for your chimney if you are selling or transferring your property. The level one inspection is also included in this type of inspection, you will be given information about anything that needs to be repaired if possible, and your chimney will be swept at the end of the inspection.
A level three inspection will include everything from a level one and two inspection, with the addition of possible total reconstruction or demolition of your chimney. This is considered to be a destructive and intrusive level of inspection, and it is usually a requirement before or after a chimney fire has occurred.
When fire hazards are suspected within your chimney, you must have a technician conduct this level of inspection in order to find out the condition of your chimney and to have any hazardous material removed as soon as possible.