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Safety of a Fireplace

The whole idea of a putting a steel box with a fire inside of it inside of a wood framed house is a little silly– but that is what we have been doing for over 80 years in the US.  This alone should call for a common sense annual chimney inspection.There are specific installation instructions provided with all modern wood burning stoves and fireplaces to ensure correct installation.  Every manufacturer has a different clearance to combustibles for their wood stove or fireplace. This makes the rules different for every factory built fireplace and wood stove installation. As you can see, chimney inspection is vital to a correctly installed fireplace.

Residential Chimney Inspection

National standards and the manufacturer of the stove or fireplace have completed private testing to determine the correct clearance to combustibles. This will be found on a sheet metal plate riveted to the body of the listed appliance. If you have this plate, it is probably a listed appliance. We must abide by the clearances indicated on the plate.

Fireplace and Chimney Inspections

The Fire Department’s code book for wood stoves and fireplaces has a name, the NFPA 211. It indicates that there are 3 different levels of inspections that may be done for a fireplace or wood stove. You can go to the code book source website here, NFPA 211We use this nationally recognized fuel code book as our controlling document at Midtown Chimney Sweeps. The three levels of chimney and fireplace inspection are labeled Level I, Level II, and Level III, and increase in their invasiveness as the numbers increase.

 Hidden Defects

Hidden construction defects of many types may exist, and may not be discovered using only a Level I or Level II Inspection. These inspections are not intended as a guarantee of safety or the absence of hazards of use, and no guarantee is implied.

Level I sweep and inspection

Level I sweep and inspection is our base level annual chimney sweep and is the least expensive level. We do not inspect fireplaces unless we sweep it first, even if it seems clean at a glance. It should be done annually according to Certified Chimney Professionals organization and the Fire Department, and consists of a physical brushing of the flue, and a visual inspection of the easily accessible portions of the chimney, and requires no tools, no cameras, and no roof inspection is required.

Level II sweep and inspection

Level II sweep and inspection is our next most popular service, and is slightly more expensive than the Level I, and for good reason. First we do everything listed in the Level I sweep and inspection above plus the following: roof inspection, live scan video inspection inside the flue, and accessible portions of the chimney. This Level II sweep and inspection is recommended by the NFPA 211 every time the property changes owners, when the fuel type changes, and after every chimney fire. This is a common sense recommendation based on industry research finding ways to reduce structure fires in America. Basically, this is the “better safe than sorry” approach for new owners or occupants of a residence, either commercial or residential.

Level III sweep and inspection

Level III sweep and inspection is the most invasive type of fireplace or chimney inspection. It consists of the logical and progressively more detailed inspections of Level I, Level II, and finally Level III. We don’t typically perform this level of sweep and inspection on a regular basis so we don’t have readily available pricing on this. The technician will be explaining all his findings to you on site as you move  down this path.

Cost of Fireplace or Chimney Inspection

At Midtown Chimney Sweeps we pretty much follow the industry standard on pricing. Level I Sweep and Inspect is the best value, followed by the Level II Sweep and Inspection, and finally and rarely the Level III.  Please call our helpful scheduling center to obtain current pricing!