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It’s Not Always Easy to Identify Internal Chimney Issues

For most people, buying a home will be the most important investment that they’ll ever make in their lives. And for that very reason, they usually call in a home inspector to make sure that everything is as it should be. We’ve all bought something in the past that once we took it home didn’t work the way that it should. According to Realtor Mag, published by the National Association of Realtors, the degree of a home inspection will vary depending on the size of the property; most home inspectors should cover the basics. A qualified home inspector must inspect the home’s structure to determine its ability to stand up to the weather. He should also look at the exterior elements of the building such as the sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. The siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior home inspection. The plumbing, heating, electrical, roofing etc… are also major elements of a thorough home inspection.

A professional home inspector is going to perform a detailed exterior and interior inspection of the chimney. From the exterior, he will be looking for structural cracking and deterioration of the bricks.  The need for mortar joints to be re-pointed and or bent chimney flashing are other aspects of a chimney’s exterior that he will investigate. He will most likely verify for creosote build-up in the chimney’s interior since excessive build-up can cause a chimney fire. Unless the home inspector has work experience in the chimney cleaning industry, the interior chimney inspection usually stops at this point since any other signs of internal damage will require a Level 2 chimney inspection. Home inspectors are very qualified and must have a working knowledge of several industries. In order be absolutely certain that there are no chimney issues

A Level 2 inspection is performed when changes are made to the system such as the fuel type, changes to the shape of the flue (i.e. relining), or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency.

It is also required when a property is sold or after an equipment malfunction that may have caused damage to the chimney such as a building fire, chimney fires or natural disaster.  A Level 2 inspection covers all of those points in a Level 1 inspection, as well as other accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior such as the attics, crawl spaces and basements. A chimney inspection of this nature will ensure that combustibles have the right clearances. It is relatively unobtrusive and doesn’t require special tools in order to be performed. to open doors, More comprehensive than a Level 1 inspection, it requires that the chimney be inspected visually by video in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required by a Level 2 inspection.

In some cases a Level 3 inspection might have to perform which includes those items that were checked in a Level 1 and Level 2 inspections. When more serious issues may have been detected previously or the chimney technician needs to gain access to areas a Level 3 inspection may well be required to determine the overall operating condition of the chimney system.

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