Fall Chimney Inspections
Winter is almost here again, and as you’d know, there are many wonderful things you can enjoy during the winter months. The cool air, hearty soups and hot chocolate can be surprisingly refreshing. But winter is also the time of the holiday season, and in the weeks leading up to the holidays you’ll barely have time for anything other than preparations for when friends and families come over.
Get a head start on your winter preparations this year! Check your home inside out for maintenance tasks you can do before winter. Getting a chimney inspection before winter is also a vital part of keeping your family safe.
Winter Chimney Safety Tips
To keep your chimney safe, it’s always best to have it inspected by a qualified chimney professional before winter. Doing so can help you avoid a nasty chimney fire during the festive season. After all, the last thing you’d want over the holidays is to lose time with friends and family over a house fire!
During inspection, a chimney professional will clean out your chimney and check for any structural issues, like cracks, missing mortar and other potential problems. Your chimney professional will also check for any animals, like birds that have made their nest in the chimney.
When to Get a Chimney Inspection
There’s no right or wrong time to get your chimney inspected. When you get your chimney will depend on some of the following factors:
- The date of your last professional chimney inspection: To practice good chimney safety, the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that you get an annual chimney inspection by a professional. If you don’t even know when last your chimney was inspected, now is definitely a good time to call your local chimney sweeps.
- How long you’ve been living in your home: If you just moved into a new place, it’s best to have your chimney inspected before you use the fireplace this winter.
- Changes to your chimney system: If you’ve made any changes to your chimney or fireplace, it’s recommended to get an inspection done before you make a fire again.
- Your chimney’s odor: If you were smelling smoke or other foul odors last time you used your fireplace, it’s definitely time for a chimney inspection. If your chimney smells bad even when you aren’t using it, that’s also a sign that your chimney needs to be cleaned and inspected.
Remember, when there’s debris hiding in your chimney, it can catch fire. Creosote buildup can also cause your chimney to start leaking smoke and carbon monoxide into your home. Because carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, this can have serious implications on your family’s health.
The Three Levels of Chimney Inspections
When it comes to getting your chimney inspected, there are three different kinds of checks your chimney professional can perform:
- Level 1: This level of inspection is for when you annually have your chimney inspected and you know it was in good shape last time you used it.
- Level 2: The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends a level 2 chimney inspection if you moved into a new house, or when changes have been made to your chimney.
- Level 3: A level 3 inspection is only required when either a level 1 or 2 inspection reveals that there are serious problems with your chimney that need to be fixed. A level 3 inspection will include the costs of removing and replacing chimney components that are no longer functional. If your chimney is visibly damaged and crumbling to pieces, you’ll also need a level 3 inspection.
If you’re unsure about getting your chimney inspected, it’s always best to simply go with a level 1 inspection. While a level 2 inspection is certainly recommended under certain circumstances, getting a level 1 inspection is better than doing no maintenance on your chimney at all. After doing a level 1 inspection, your chimney professional will also be able to tell you if there will be additional repair costs for your chimney. Should any part of your chimney look suspicious after a level 1 inspection, further investigation will need to be done, which would require you to do a level 2 inspection.
Choosing Professional Chimney Sweep Services
When you choose a chimney sweep, you’re trusting this professional with the health and safety of your family. Just as you wouldn’t go to just any doctor, you shouldn’t work with just any professional chimney sweeps.
Unfortunately, there are some chimney sweeps out there who aren’t even chimney sweeps at all. These people will charge you for a chimney inspection and will then disappear with your money without ever providing the service you paid for. To protect yourself against these malicious characters, you have a responsibility to research any professional chimney sweep before hiring them. Some important things to look at when choosing a chimney sweep include:
- Brick and mortar location: More than anything else, a brick and mortar location is a sign that you’re working with a real professional chimney sweep business.
- Customer reviews: Even when you work with a real business, reviews from previous customers can help you find the best value for your money.
- Reasonable pricing: Granted, you don’t want to simply choose the chimney sweeps that give you the lowest quote, but if you get a quote that is well above the normal market price for a chimney inspection, the business is overcharging you. You should be able to get a reliable business without having to pay hundreds of dollars more for your inspection.
If you would like to get ahead on your winter preparations this year, feel free to contact Chimney Sweeps West in Knoxville, TN for a quote on a professional inspection for your chimney.