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Chimney Inspections

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What? When? & Where?

The inspections of chimneys is an important service offered by Doodlebuggers. Doodlebuggers offers Chimney and Fireplace Inspections in the Pensacola – Destin Florida Areas.  Chimney inspections come in many forms and you should be aware that not all inspections are alike. At Doodlebuggers, we follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommended inspection procedures.

NFPA (NFPA) divides the inspection procedure into three categories, or levels. The circumstances which give rise to the inspection determine what level of inspection is to be conducted. A Level 1 inspection is the most basic level of inspection while Level II and Level III inspections are progressively more detailed and comprehensive.  A Level 2 inspection (without video) is completed during each chimney cleaning, or sweeping. A Level 2 inspection with video is also offered for an additional price. 

LEVEL 1 Chimney INSPECTION

A Level 1 chimney 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 1 chimney 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. Doodlebuggers offers Level 1 chimney inspections in the Pensacola and Destin Florida areas by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. 

LEVEL 2 Chimney INSPECTION

A Level 2 chimney inspection is more detailed and thorough than a Level 1 inspection and is the recommended inspection when conditions of use for the appliance or venting system are changing, or when a Level 1 inspection reveals the need for a more detailed inspection. Several instances where a Level 2 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 2 inspection includes all of the requirements of a Level I inspection as well as the following:

  • 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 (for extra charge), or other thorough inspection (digital imaging)  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 2 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.  Doodlebuggers offers Level 2 chimney inspections in the Pensacola and Destin Florida areas by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. 

LEVEL 3 Chimney INSPECTION

A Level 3 inspection is the most detailed of all of the inspection types and includes inspection of concealed areas of the building. However, examination of concealed areas will be limited to areas reasonably suspected of containing hazards that cannot be evaluated otherwise.

A Level 3 inspection includes all areas covered in a Level 1 and Level 2 inspection, and inspection of concealed areas to investigate known or suspected problems. In as much as certain portions of a Level 3 inspection require destructive action to the building, the inspector will discuss these areas with the building owner prior to the inspection.  Doodlebuggers offers Level 3 chimney inspections in the Pensacola and Destin Florida areas by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps.

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:

  1. After any unusual, or sudden occurrence event, such as a chimney fire, lightning strike, tropical storm, hurricane or earthquake.
  2. Prior to purchasing a home with an existing chimney.
  3. Whenever changes are made to a chimney or vent system, including replacement of connected appliances.
  4. Prior to major system repairs.

 Call Doodlebuggers for your annual chimney inspection in Pensacola and Destin Florida areas by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. 

VIDEO SCANNING

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 III inspection. The image on the right is the interior of chimney flue (photo taken with video scanner). Doodlebuggers offers video scanning of chimneys in  Pensacola-Destin Florida areas by their CSIA Certified Technicians. 

Summary

You should be aware that even the most thorough inspection will not reveal all problems. Some areas of a chimney simply are not assess able due to construction of the house. Be sure to discuss any specific concerns with your technician. The recommended inspection technique will often be based on your comments and concerns.

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National Fireplace Institute
Certified Chimney Sweep
National Chimney Sweep Guild
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