Fireplace and Chimney Inspection

Is your chimney in need of an inspection? Look no further. Our highly-trained fireplace inspection and cleaning experts are here to make sure your chimney is safe for use just in time for the winter months. We currently perform fireplace chimney inspection for homes in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, a chimney should be inspected once a year, preferably in late summer/early fall before the cold winter months (NFPA 2011). Of course, however, any signs of chimney damage warrants an inspection!

What Is Involved in a Fireplace Chimney Inspection?

A chimney fireplace inspection is a process in which our highly-trained fireplace inspection technicians thoroughly examine each aspect of the chimney from the fireplace in your home to the top of the external chimney structure outside of your home. It also entails inspecting the flue system, caps, dampers, and sealants to make sure everything is working properly and that there are no points where water can leak, in addition to the inner surfaces of your chimney to make sure there are no build-up of dirt and grime that can obstruct airflow through the chimney and increase your risk of a house fire.

A gas fireplace we inspected

There are 3 levels of chimney cleaning with increasing depth and cost. The first level involves a basic visual inspection of all parts of the exhaust gas-venting system. This is recommended yearly by the National Fire Protection Association in conjunction with annual cleaning or when replacing an appliance with one of similar type. Our experts will make sure that the chimney and vent is free of creosote, debris, and any obstructions and make sure all visually-accessible parts of your chimney and its connections are properly installed and sealed tight. If debris is found during this process, our experts come equipped with the necessary tools for a simple chimney sweep.

The 2nd level involves a more thorough inspection of the fireplace and chimney, including the flue liner surfaces and joints using specialized video scanning and camera equipment. Additionally, we inspect any portions of the chimney that can be accessible within the attic, crawlspaces, and/or basement. This level of inspection is very important when buying a home or if you plan on making any significant changes to your chimney like switching from natural gas to an oil-burning furnace. It also includes a simple chimney sweep if any debris is found.

A 3rd level fireplace chimney inspection is the most invasive and thorough level of inspection. This type of inspection is most appropriate after severe damage has occurred to the chimney after some hazardous event such as a chimney fire, earthquake, or lightning strike. It may involve removal of portions of the chimney, like panels and coverings, in order to assess the integrity of the chimney system.

What to Expect with a Fireplace Chimney Inspection

It depends on the level of inspection. For level 1 inspection, we provide visual inspection of accessible areas of your chimney, whereas levels 2 and 3 require camera equipment and a more involved approach. Our expert chimney inspection and cleaning technicians also come prepared with basic chimney sweep tools in case any easy-to-reach debris is found. For all levels of inspection, you will receive a detailed report of all of our findings, including repair recommendations and associated cost estimates, that we can review with you and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Does My Gas Fireplace Need an Inspection, Too?

Yes! Even though gas fireplaces require less maintenance, they are not maintenance free.  Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, you don’t have to worry about creosote and soot buildup, but you do have to make sure the venting system is working properly. The venting system is crucial to prevent carbon monoxide from escaping into your home. A blocked vent is the number one cause of both house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning by gas fireplaces (source). Additionally, other components of the gas fireplace need to be assessed for proper functioning including the pilot light, ports, burners, and valves. Dust, dirt, and spiderwebs can accumulate on these components and lead to wear and tear, and can pose  a fire hazard risk. A gas fireplace inspection by our highly trained gas fireplace technicians will make sure your fireplace is ready for the winter and give you peace of mind.

Give us a call today at 301-965-1341 to schedule your fireplace and chimney inspection service.