What Are Level 1 And Level 2 Chimney Inspections?
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What are Level 1 And Level 2 Chimney Inspections?

This article explains what level 1 and level 2 chimney inspections are and how they differ from one another. We also show you how to find a good chimney inspector and ensure that your home is safe.

Why Discuss Chimney Inspection?

Fireplaces, stoves, and gas logs can be dangerous, especially for fire safety. Every year, hundreds of homeowners suffer burn injuries due to unsafe conditions with their chimney and fireplace.

Chimney Inspections are vital, so I’m sure you are already aware of their importance. This likely is why you are reading this information – you want to have a few questions answered.

So… what are Level 1 and Level 2 Inspections?

Level 1 inspections are carried out on a routine basis to check that all the workplace’s primary health and safety features are in place and working.

Level 2 inspections are carried out when there is a specific concern about safety or health at a workplace.

ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN BRIEFLY.

LEVEL 1 CHIMNEY INSPECTION

If you are a homeowner and have a chimney, you’ll want to make sure that it is in good condition before the winter season comes around. You don’t want to have a fire in your house because of a faulty chimney! A chimney inspection is a way to ensure that your home is safe from the inside out. We will go over the different levels of checks and show you how to find a good chimney inspector.

A level 1 inspection is the most common type of inspection. A basic inspection is often “an inspection without special equipment.”

In the first level of chimney sweeping, level 1, an experienced chimney sweep will look around the exterior of the chimney to make sure there is no water damage or other problems.

Level one is a practical home inspection. Your chimney sweep will look around the exterior of your chimney and determine if there are any issues.

This type comes with a disadvantage: using special equipment to look deep into the chimney that’s not visible with a Level 1.

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The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) explains a Level 1 inspection this way:

“If your appliance or your venting system has not changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a Level 1 inspection is a minimum requirement. A Level 1 inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same appliance.

​In a Level 1 inspection, your chimney service technician should examine the readily accessible** portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible* portions of the appliance, and the chimney connection.

Your technician will be looking for the essential soundness of the chimney structure and flue and the basic appliance installation and connections. The technician will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.”

If you have never had a Level 1 Inspection before, contact Highs Chimney Sweeping and schedule your appointment.

LEVEL 2 CHIMNEY INSPECTION

The use of special equipment allows us to see what could be missed during a Level 1 inspection.

A special camera that can be extended deep inside the chimney is the most common equipment used by a chimney sweep for a Level 2.

To put it into more detailed terms, the CSIA explains a Level 2 inspection this way:

“A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a difference in the fuel type, changes to the shape of, or material in, the flue (i.e., relining), or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a distinct type, input rating, or efficiency.

Additionally, a Level 2 inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operation malfunction or external event that has likely caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events, and weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted.

A Level 2 inspection is more in-depth than a Level 1 inspection.– When a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without special tools to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue, a Level 3 inspection is recommended.

A Level 3 inspection addresses the proper construction and the condition of concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Removal or destruction, as necessary, of permanently attached parts of the chimney or building structure will be required to complete a Level 3 inspection. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior, including attics, crawl spaces, and basements. It will address proper clearances from inaccessible combustible locations.

No specialty tools (i.e., demolition equipment) are required to open doors, panels, or coverings to perform a Level 2 inspection. A Level 2 inspection shall include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means to examine all flue liners’ internal surfaces and joints 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.”

If you have never had a Level 2 Inspection before, contact Highs Chimney Sweeping and schedule your appointment.

LEVEL 3 CHIMNEY INSPECTION

Only a Level 1 inspection will get you a Level 2 inspection, and then you’ll need to wait until a Level 3 inspection is done to see if the problems have been fixed.

Before your chimney sweep performs a Level 3, the first thing they’ll discuss with you is what they found and the procedures before beginning a Level 3 inspection. Sometimes, a Level 3 may require a minor demolition.

To put it into more formal terms, the CSIA defines a Level 3 this way:

A Level 3 inspection includes all the areas, items checked in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, and removing specific components of the building or chimney where necessary. Removal of components (i.e., chimney crown, interior chimney wall) shall be required only when necessary to access areas subject to the inspection.

When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.

In conclusion, we’ll provide you with questions to ask when choosing a chimney inspector. It’s crucial to ensure that the inspector you choose has the skills and experience to conduct a thorough inspection of your chimney.

If you’re looking for a professional chimney inspection, we suggest hiring a licensed chimney inspector. Contact Highs Chimney for an experienced inspection of your chimney, simply call us at (317) 627-3606 or fill out the Estimate Request form and one of our representatives will be glad to assist you.