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Detecting Chimney Damage after a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

Weather forecasters agree that the majority of hurricanes hit the coast of Florida and further inland, but Texas receives its fair share. The Central Texas Gulf coast (Galveston) and South Texas Gulf coast (Corpus Christi-Brownsville) ranked in the top 10 according to Sperlingís Best Places. Galveston which has been the site of some of the most catastrophic hurricanes was hit by tropical storm Allison in 2001 receiving some extremely heavy rainfall.

From June right through until October we can count on increased storm activity with as many 71 deadly storms being recorded during that period over the years. Most masonry chimneys are relatively built to handle the high winds and heavy rains. However a falling tree or two have been known to land on a chimney or roof.

If youíre not sure if your chimney is damaged or if youíre unsure of the extent of the damage, a professional chimney cleaner should be called into perform a Level 2 inspection According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, A level 2 inspection is also used when the property is being sold or if there has been a building or chimney fire, weather or seismic event or any operating malfunction likely to have caused damage to the chimney.

Level 2 inspections are more detailed than Level 1 inspections. A Level 1 inspection is performed during annual inspections.   A Level 1 inspection is performed on chimneys, fireplaces and vents shall be inspected at least once a year or during routine cleaning of a flue or flues within the chimney.

During a Level 2 inspection a professional chimney cleaner will have to access and access the chimney from everywhere possible. He will perform a roof inspection as well as enter the home and inspect the appliance or fireplace as well as the crawl space.

In these types of situations these chimney inspections are covered by home ownerís insurance policy. You should verify your insurance policy or mention it to the claims adjuster when he is evaluating your home. If the inspection isnít covered, you would be better off paying for this service yourself and if damage is detected then file a claim on your home owners insurance for the needed repairs. It usually costs around a few hundred dollars for a Level 2 inspection. But that rate depends on area that you live in and other factors.

There are many types of damage that a Level 2 inspection will detect. Not as easy to detect as a masonry chimney, a prefab chimney appliance might suffer damage to the chimney pipe and the surrounding wood structure as well. The newer the model, the easier it is to find replacement parts. Another common problem that we find is water damage that can cause a leaky chimney. Water damage isnít always obvious and sometimes it takes longer to appear. During a Level 2 inspection, the chimney professional will be able to identify the level and extent of the damage as well as be able to propose a solution.

The old adage applies, itís better to be safe than sorry. A chimney inspection after a tropical storm will give you piece of mind and ensure that you chimney and fireplace are operating efficiently.

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