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It’s Never Too Late To Schedule Your Annual Chimney Inspection

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) develops, publishes and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks. One code in particular, NFPA 211, is the industry standard upon which certified chimney sweeps base their services. The code was written to provide for the reduction of fire hazards by ensuring the safe removal of flue gases, the proper installation of solid fuel-burning appliances, and the correct construction and installation of chimneys, fireplaces and venting systems.

Different Levels Of Inspection & When They’re Needed

Before you burn anything in your fireplace, you need to know that your entire chimney system can safely contain and usher out the harmful byproducts of combustion. The only way to ensure your chimney system is up to the task is to have it inspected annually. The NFPA and Chimney Safety Institute of America classify chimney inspections into three categories: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each level of inspection covers specific items depending on the individual appliance and how it’s vented to the outside of the home.

  • A Level 1 inspection is completed during your routine chimney cleaning. This is the recommended level when the conditions of use have not changed over the past year. It’s a more routine evaluation that, as such, should be carried out annually. It’s limited in scope to the portions of the chimney’s exterior and interior that are easily accessible, as well as to the portions of the fireplace and flue that are readily accessible. The technician’s goal is to gauge the basic soundness of the flue and chimney structure as well as your basic fireplace installation and connections. The technician also checks to make sure the chimney is free of obstructions and combustible deposits.
  • A Level 2 inspection is more detailed and thorough than its Level 1 counterpart and is recommended either when the conditions of use have changed during the past year or when a Level 1 inspection reveals an issue that warrants a more thorough inspection. A few notable issues that may call for a more in-depth inspection are homeowners opting to convert a traditional fireplace to a gas unit or when an event has occurred that possibly could have caused damage to the chimney (e.g., chimney fire, earthquake, or foundation settling). It’s also recommended upon the sale or transfer of the property. Level 2 inspections include everything Level 1 inspections include as well as the inspection of accessible areas of the attic, basement, and crawlspace and a video evaluation of the inside of your chimney.
  • A Level 3 inspection is the most in-depth of all the inspection types and is conducted after either a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection reveals a major issue in parts of the chimney and/or flue that aren’t, by traditional standards, easily accessible. It’s important to note that the technician’s examination of concealed areas is limited to those areas that are reasonably suspected of containing hazards that can’t be evaluated otherwise. Level 3 inspections include all of the areas covered in Level 1 and Level 2 inspections, as well as inspection of otherwise concealed areas to further investigate known or suspected problems. Because certain portions of Level 3 inspections require some sort of demolition to, within, or around your home, the technician will discuss these areas with you prior to beginning any work.

Are Regular Inspections Really Necessary?

The cost of preventive maintenance is far less than that of making more significant repairs that could’ve been avoided. Hence, it just makes sense to get an annual chimney sweeping and inspection. This routine maintenance is especially critical for regularly used heating appliances and their attached chimneys, but is still considered necessary maintenance even for those that are only used occasionally. You never know what might’ve taken up residence inside your chimney.

Get Ready For The Colder Months – Call Olde Town Chimney Sweeps Today

Before you light that first fire of the year, be sure to call Olde Town Chimney Sweeps and have your system professionally inspected. Call of click here to schedule your annual inspection today.


There are a number of conditions that might create a need for chimney repair and, without lots of training, you aren’t likely to know or recognize all of them. That’s why you need the expert chimney and dryer vent services we can provide, so give us a call.



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