Chimney inspections are an important way to maintain the integrity of your chimney. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 211 2010 states that they must be performed annually.

There are three levels of chimney inspections. You should be aware of the different procedures performed in the different levels of inspections.

During the course of a Level I chimney inspection, the inspector will look for absence of combustible deposits or blockage in the fire burning system. They will also inspect readily accessible areas of the interior and exterior accessible areas of the appliance and chimney connector, if any. The use of a limited amount of tools like a screw driver or ladder may be used to assist him/her in the inspection process. When they have completed the inspection process, he/she will discuss with you any integrity issues encountered. This is the most basic of inspections, but will uncover most serious problems.

Level II inspections are more revealing, and have a longer process. This covers proper clearances to combustibles, all accessible areas within the system, and the interior and exterior of the system. The inspection also includes parts of the chimney passing through crawlspaces, basements, and attics. Video scans are used to inspect the interior of the flue system. This inspection is performed on the occasion of adding and removing an appliance, replacing an appliance with a different type of fuel, or before relining the flue system, or even after the occurrence of an event likely to cause damage to the system.

Level III inspection is necessary when it is necessary to remove parts of the chimney structure, or building to gain access to specific concealed areas. This inspection also includes all areas covered by Level I and Level II inspections. We find a Level III is usually carried out when detecting or suspecting a hazard that can not be checked without access to concealed areas while performing a Level I or Level II inspection.

Robert Hoegner
RMR Chimney Sweep
2150 Touhy Avenue
Elk Grove Village, IL. 60007