Don't Roast Your Chestnuts in an Unsafe Fireplace
In North Texas, we hardly ever have a chance to use our fireplaces. But when temperatures get down to 30-40 degrees outside, our caveman instincts kick in and we are ready to be warmed by a nice cozy fire. The fireplace becomes the epicenter of the home when the weather and/or the time is right. Most of us just throw in some wood or turn on the gas and let the good times roll, right?
What if you just recently purchased your home and the first time you decide to break in the fireplace, smoke starts to fill the house and a fire breaks out? Not a handy time
The (NFPA) National Fire Protection Association has put guidelines on the levels of inspection that a fireplace and chimney should go through. Prior to 2000 it was up to the company doing the inspection how thorough that inspection had to be. NFPA now has three levels of certifications.
This is the most basic of inspections and is done when an annual chimney sweep is performed. A level 1 inspection is done after the chimney cleaning – it is a visual inspection on the basic construction and mechanisms in the fireplace. The inspector is looking at the overall condition of the fireplace chimney, making sure there is no debris or obstruction blocking the flue.
An inspection is done when something has been changed in the appliance such as fuel type, changes in material or the shape of the flue (relining), or replacing an appliance of dissimilar type of efficiency or input rating. A level 2 inspection should also be done when the property changes hands.
This inspection is the most extensive and can require the technician to take apart components of the unit to inspect further. These technicians have the proper equipment to inspect deeper down into the chimney and flue. A level 3 inspection may also be required to inspect if the chimney crown has been rebuilt or if the back wall bricks of the fire box have been replaced, two of the most common repairs that chimneys and fireplaces undertake in their lifetimes.
If you have questions about fireplace inspections, give us a call!