06 Nov Get a Chimney Inspection—Before it’s Too Late

Cold weather is coming, ladies and gentlemen! If you haven’t already, you’re probably preparing to get that fireplace of yours a-blazing. We can’t deny it— nothing gets us feeling cozy and ready for winter-y weather like a warm fire in the fireplace.

Unfortunately, fireplaces can be hazardous if we don’t know how to take care of them. When we burn fires, soot, along with an oily substance called creosote, builds up inside the chimney. On their own, these substances don’t harm anything, but rather, just look pretty dirty. However, things get dangerous when we continue to burn fires in our fireplaces. Creosote’s oily nature makes it incredibly flammable; add the heat of a fire and you’ve got a pretty sticky situation on your hands.

It’s also possible that your chimney could have acquired some foreign residents during the summer and autumn seasons. Birds’ nests and things of the like can pose a real fire hazard. Birds and other animals who may have sought refuge in your chimney over the last few months likely built their homes from dry grass, leaves, and other highly flammable materials. Should the flames of your cozy living room fire lick up to whatever nest has been sitting in your chimney, a chimney fire is not unlikely.

All of this is to say one thing: get your chimney inspected before you light the first fire of the season. There are few different levels of chimney inspection you might need, and we’re here to lay them out for you.

A Level One Inspection

During a level one inspection, a visual check of your chimney will be done. The inspector will check for any basic damage, as well as for fire hazards within the chimney. If they find that there is an excess of soot or creosote, or that there are any blockages (like animal nests), they’ll order a cleaning of your chimney that will be relatively non-invasive and will bring your chimney back up to safe standards.

A Level Two Inspection

A level two inspection is slightly more in depth than a level one inspection, but still isn’t too invasive or destructive. It will include everything a level one inspection includes, along with further measures to examine inside structures as well. This includes visual checks of crawl spaces, attics, and even the roof. We’d suggest getting a level two inspection if your home has recently been through a strong storm or other jarring event.

A Level Three Inspection

If you’ve already had a chimney fire, a level three inspection may be required.  A level three inspection can determine the condition of the entire chimney system and replace entire structural parts. This is the most invasive kind of inspection, but in some extreme cases, it may be required.

We suggest starting with a level one inspection, unless there’s some real damage you already know of. Once your chimney has been inspected and adequately cleaned, you’ll be all set for the winter! All that’s left to do is make sure your Massachusetts homeowners insurance is up to date and has you covered in the event you do have some chimney related issues this winter. Be sure to give us a call at 508-528-5200 for a quick review!

 

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