Why Annual Chimney Inspection Is a Must

A well-built chimney will perform safely for many years. But even the best chimneys eventually begin to fail over time. For the average homeowner, a key problem is that chimney failure isn’t always noticeable in its early stages and often progresses without being seen. This is where a proper chimney inspection comes in.

Bethesda Chimney of Montgomery County, MD, would like to share some important information about chimney inspections, including what happens during them and the reasons you need to schedule them.

Level One Chimney Inspection in Friendship Village, MDThree levels of chimney inspection

Experienced chimney companies throughout Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia typically provide three levels of inspection, as recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and other organizations.

Level 1

This is the basic chimney inspection that covers all visible areas of the chimney structure and its components.

Level 2

Level 2 inspections are a little more involved and include video imaging inside the flue. These inspections are called for when:

  • The home is being sold
  • The chimney or the appliance connected to it is being modified
  • A chimney fire or other event may have caused damage

Level 3

When a chimney is known to have suffered severe damage, a Level 3 chimney inspection is necessary. It often involves removing parts of the chimney or the nearby materials of the home to get to the problem.

Those are the primary types of chimney inspections. Here are the reasons you need this service.

Three important reasons to schedule an annual chimney inspection

Chimney inspections should be performed only by certified chimney professionals who are licensed and insured. Never allow a novice or “handyman” to inspect (or work on) your chimney.

Spot early signs of Damage

Experienced chimney inspectors will look closely at your chimney’s masonry. They’ll detect cracks, crumbling and other problems with the bricks and mortar that could lead to very dangerous operating conditions down the line.

If your chimney bricks are loose (spalling), stained white (efflorescence) or suffering decay, or if the mortar between the bricks is falling away, your inspector will know the correct way to resolve the problem.

Chimney inspections detect excess creosote in the flue

Creosote accumulates in a chimney flue when wood fires are burned. Highly flammable, creosote can be sticky, flaky, puffy or solid and must be removed by an experienced chimney sweep.

Certified Chimney Inspection, Chevy Chase Washington DCInspection services determine the cause of drafting problems

If smoke is backing up into your home, it’s carrying with it carbon monoxide. This gas is invisible, odorless and potentially fatal to humans and animals.

A quality chimney inspection will find out why there’s a drafting problem. Common causes include:

  • Excess creosote and soot buildup in the flue
  • Outside debris and animals in the flue
  • A flue that’s the incorrect size
  • A faulty fireplace damper

When was your last chimney inspection?

If you don’t know the last time your chimney was professionally inspected, it’s been too long. Bethesda Chimney is here to help with complete chimney inspections, chimney cleaning and chimney repairs. Reach a certified chimney technician today at (301) 969-4444 or (703) 935-4444. You can also get in touch with our simple contact form.

We serve Bethesda MD, and all of Washington DC / District of Columbia. We work throughout Chevy Chase MD, Potomac MD, McLean VA, Silver Spring MD, and other area cities and towns.

Our Certifications & Awards