We Perform Level 2 Chimney Inspections – Schedule Yours Now
One of the best ways to keep your chimney well maintained and working safely is by investing in annual inspections with a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified sweep. Inspections ensure any minor issues are spotted and resolved before they develop into something worse, and they give your sweep the chance to clear up potential hazards before your burning season begins.
All that said, there are different levels of inspections that can be completed by a certified sweep. Some companies will only offer the most basic level of inspection (a level 1), but here at Highpoint Chimney Service, we offer two different levels, ensuring you’re taken care of, no matter your current needs.
What’s the Difference Between a Level 1 & Level 2 Chimney Inspection?
So, what’s the difference between the two levels of inspections we offer, and how can you know which one you need?
A level 1 inspection will include a basic visual inspection of the readily accessible parts of both the interior and the exterior of your chimney. Essentially, we’re looking for things like obvious signs of damage, incorrectly installed components, and the presence of potentially harmful buildup (like creosote).
These should be scheduled every single year before the start of your burning season.
A level 2 inspection is more in-depth. It includes all of the same components in a level 1 inspection, as well as a camera inspection. We’ll snake our equipment up the flue, get the footage we need to make an accurate analysis, then present you with the results. This gives the sweep an up-close look at areas that would otherwise be left unseen and unnoticed.
After it’s completed, we’ll note whether any defects, buildup, or damages are present, and then make a solid plan of action for moving forward.
When should I schedule a level 2 inspection?
Now, it may seem like a level 2 inspection is always the better bet, but there are actually only a handful of circumstances that will warrant this more comprehensive overview. These include:
- when buying or selling a home
- after a chimney fire
- after a natural disaster
- if it has been over a year since your last inspection
- after a change in fuel type
- after an upgrade or remodel has been completed
So, basically, if you haven’t had any issues or haven’t made any changes to your system, and if you’re diligent about getting your yearly inspections completed before your burning season begins, then a level 1 inspection should be all you need.
Why Are Level 2 Inspections Needed During Home Purchases?
Level 2 inspections are recommended when buying or selling a home because they ensure any necessary repairs can either be completed before the home is officially sold or be worked into the final price of the property. Chimneys and fireplaces play a big part in home value, so having a thorough overview completed before moving forward in this process is best for all involved.
Essentially, if you’re the seller and you’ve invested a lot of time and expense into the fireplace, you can use your level 2 inspection to prove why your house is worth what you’re asking for it.
On the flip side, if you’re the buyer, you can use the level 2 inspection to either gain peace of mind, knowing your dream home is meeting your standards, or you can have the current owners address any issues that are discovered long before you move in.
What we don’t want is for someone to go through the lengthy homebuying process, move into their ideal property, then discover they need thousands of dollars worth of chimney repairs to get their fireplace functioning safely.
Do home inspectors inspect the chimney?
A big misconception when it comes to level 2 real estate chimney inspections is that they’re covered in the home inspector’s report. This is partly true – home inspectors do examine the chimney for any obvious issues – but there are a whole slew of issues that their brief overview could be missing.
In fact, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), your home inspector is not required to do any of the following:
- inspect the flue or vent system
- inspect the interior of chimneys or flues
- inspect the fire doors or screens, seals or gaskets, or mantels
- perform a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)-style inspection
- perform a Phase I fireplace and chimney inspection
- determine the need for a chimney sweep
- …and a whole lot more.
All your home inspector is actually required to complete, in regards to the chimney, is inspect “readily accessible and visible portions of the fireplaces and chimneys,” including the lintels, damper doors (by opening and closing, if accessible), and the cleanout doors and frames.
Long story short – home inspectors are not chimney experts, and many times they’ll end up recommending that potential home buyers book this maintenance with a certified sweep.
What Areas of the Chimney Are Inspected During a Level 2 Inspection?
During a level 2 inspection, all internal surfaces and joints will be inspected, as well as the chimney liner and any areas of the chimney running through the basement, attic, or any crawl spaces. In addition to all of that, we’ll ensure all proper clearances are in place and being adhered to.
We’ll also use common tools and equipment, if necessary, to open up any doors, panels, or coverings, to get as thorough of an assessment as possible.
Keep in mind, though, that a level 2 inspection will never involve damaging or demoing the chimney or any of its parts to get a better look at the system.
How Often Should Level 2 Chimney Inspections Be Conducted?
Unless your system has gone through a hazardous event (like a chimney fire, tornado, flood, etc.), or unless it has recently been modified or renovated (switching to an insert, having a rebuild done, switching fuel types, etc.), then a level 2 chimney inspection isn’t something you typically need to worry about scheduling.
What’s most important is getting your level 1 inspections completed before starting your burning season each year. These should be done annually, and we recommend scheduling them in the spring or summer months to ensure you stay ahead of the game and can get any needed repairs completed quickly.
Who Should I Hire to Complete My Level 2 Chimney Inspection?
Like with any chimney service or repair job, it’ll always be in your best interest to hire a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweep. Why is this important?
- CSIA-certified sweeps invest in quality training sessions and study up on chimney-related texts to ensure they’re as knowledgeable as possible going into every job.
- Certified sweeps sign a Code of Ethics, ensuring homeowners don’t have to stress about getting scammed or manipulated throughout the service.
- When a sweep is certified, it shows that they’re willing to put in the work to keep their customer base as safe as possible.
- The chimney industry isn’t nationally regulated, so anyone could claim to be a sweep without having much experience or training. Certifications ensure your techs really know their stuff.
- The CSIA requires recertification every 3 years, so rest assured that your techs will always be up to date and well-informed on any new laws, regulations, or techniques introduced into this ever-evolving industry.
We also recommend looking for companies that are well-reviewed, have multiple years of industry experience, and who invest in memberships from other esteemed organizations in the industry, like the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG).
All in all, doing your research and finding a company that you know you can rely on and trust is imperative when having chimney or fireplace services completed. If something goes wrong with your system when lighting a fire, there are a number of hazards that could put your home and family at risk.
Don’t take any chances. If you live in the Hillsborough area, rest assured that our sweeps check all the boxes and can get you taken care of. Call today to schedule with us.
What Happens If My Level 2 Inspection Reveals Damages?
If we complete your level 2 chimney inspection and make note of damaged areas, buildup, or the need for replacement parts, what should you next course of action, as a homeowner, be?
Well, first of all, you’ll need to stop using your chimney and fireplace. A damaged chimney invites numerous risks into your home, including an increased risk of chimney or home fires, the potential for gas and carbon monoxide leaks, a higher chance of smoke entering your living space, lowered indoor air quality, and more.
Remember that, when lighting fires in your home, taking all necessary precautions is imperative. Even a small issue can grow into a major problem if not appropriately addressed, so trusting a team of experts (like our crew) to resolve damages quickly is a must.
Which brings us to the next thing you should be doing – getting repair services booked. Chimney damage will only worsen the longer it’s left alone, so having a tech put a stop to any issues right away is a must.
Finally, invest in preventive maintenance. Things like having a chimney cap installed, booking waterproofing services, investing in a new liner, and more, are all measures that will keeping your system functioning safer and help you avoid bigger problems down the line.
What if damages are revealed during a home inspection?
Now, if you were getting a level 2 inspection completed for part of your home inspection process before buying a home, you may need to approach the situation a bit differently.
In these cases, we’d recommend either working any needed repairs into the final value of the home, so you can use that extra money for repairs, or having the current owners get the issues resolved before the sale is complete. Either way, you shouldn’t be the responsible party taking care of any issues.
Remember – a new home is a big investment! Make sure you get what you pay for (and don’t face any disappointments later on) by staying on top of it all and by letting our sweeps do a thorough overview ahead of time.
If repairs are needed, can the Highpoint Chimney team help?
Absolutely! We offer a long list of repair services, including leaky chimney repairs, masonry repairs, new chimney cap installations, chase cover replacement services, leaky flashing repairs, relining work, and a whole lot more.
We’re a full-service chimney company, so there isn’t much we can’t do for you, and our team is highly experienced, so you can bet that we’ve just about seen it all. If you’re looking for a crew that really knows their stuff and has the experience, education, and training to back up all of the services they offer, quit your search now – turn to us.
Time to Schedule? Give Us a Call or Reach Out Online
Get booked with us today. Our team of sweeps would be happy to perform your level 2 chimney inspection, whether you’re making a move into a new home, need care after a natural disaster, want to ensure everything looks good after a renovation, or something else. We’ll ensure no issues are present and, if we do find areas of concern, we’ll offer effective solutions for getting things back in tip-top shape.
And once your system is back in shape and looking good, we can offer preventive services to keep it that way!
In the end, inspections aren’t a service you should be putting off. Get in touch by calling us at 908-864-4114 or by reaching out to us online now.