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Winter's coming: Make sure your chimney is not in disrepair

Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 3:56:07 PM

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season just around the corner, countless households will host friends and family to celebrate. To create a warm and welcoming ambiance, some of these homeowners will use their fireplaces to set the tone. However, before you start using your fireplace on a regular basis, it could pay to get it inspected.

After extended use, a fireplace can get clogged with ash and sooth. In contrast, after a period of nonuse, other debris, such as leaves, twigs and even animals can stop up your chimney. Rather than risk a chimney fire, call in a professional to make sure it's ready for use.

Level-one inspection 
When you hire a professional inspector, you have a number of different options, each with their own cost and level of service. The first is a level-one inspection. This option is the simplest and often only entails a visual inspection of the fireplace and chimney without the use of special tools or climbing onto the roof.      

If the inspector notices any debris, they will recommend a sweep and may be able to do it themselves on the spot. However, if they notice any significant damage, they may refer you to someone else.

Level-two inspection
A level-two chimney inspection can be a bit more invasive and is usually necessary after an event, such as an earthquake, tornado or hurricane. In addition, if you made any changes to your fireplace or just purchased a the property, this is also recommended.

In addition to all the components of a level-one inspection, the inspector will also use special tools, such as video scanning, to look for any serious damage.

The inspector will also spend time on the roof and in crawl spaces that make contact with the chimney to look for issues.

Level-three inspection
Level-three chimney inspections are the most intense and subsequently the most expensive. In fact, you may be able to use a home improvement loan to fund this process, especially if any repairs are in need.

The reason a level-three inspection is so expensive is because it is very similar to a remodeling job. It often entail tearing down walls and starting from scratch. Luckily, homeowners may be able to use this opportunity to update their fireplace and chimney which could in turn improve the value of their property.ADNFCR-16001052-ID-800898115-ADNFCR