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Work more Safely and Reliably at Height with a Chimney Inspection Checklist

A clean chimney is a vital part of fire prevention. Use a chimney inspection checklist to keep chimneys free from hazards and to work safer at heights.

What is in a Chimney Inspection Checklist?

About 7000 chimney fires occur in the UK each year. More than 25,000 occur in the US annually. They account for $125 million in damages to properties. Chimney fires are common, and they are preventable with a regular chimney inspection.

Certified chimney professionals use a chimney inspection checklist to assess the condition of chimney systems. They ensure that chimneys are operational and not prone to fires.

Using a chimney inspection form, the inspector will provide information about the condition of the chimney, provide photos or illustrations of the defects, if any, provide recommendations for improvement, and then affix their signature to validate the inspection.

Regular chimney maintenance can help prevent expensive repairs and devastating incidents. Maintaining and repairing chimneys should be done regularly. It is even more necessary if the fireplace or chimney is heavily used. Their unique operating conditions expose them to factors that damage their integrity, such as fuel ashes, thermal variations, UV exposures, and gases.

In this article, the following points are explained:

1. The need of a regularly chimney inspection

2. The essential areas of chimney maintenance

3. The three chimney inspection types

4. A mobile inspection app for chimney sweeper

The Need of a Regularly Chimney Inspection

Both commercial and residential chimneys and fireplaces need to be in the best condition. And that can only be possible with extensive inspections, the necessary repair work, and replacement of fireplace components if necessary.

Chimneys are an expensive investment. It must be sure they are efficient and safe. Examining the chimney using a chimney inspection checklist ensures that it is free from flaws. It is an effective way of preventing fires and making sure the chimney burns wood efficiently even before an inspector comes.

A chimney inspection checklist helps a chimney inspector guarantees the safety of the property. It also makes sure that the chimney systems are in good operational condition before usage.

Chimney inspections can be chaotic, but a qualified professional should be able to protect the property with drop cloths. They should also document what happens during the inspection. Afterward, the inspector should provide a detailed report and an estimate of the repairs needed.

Chimney inspections must provide you with advice and recommendations for:

  • Preventing water or smoke from entering the property
  • Maintaining good air quality inside the property
  • Preventing potential fire hazards such as creosote buildup, distorted rain cap, animal nests, and cracks
  • Keeping the heating systems from deteriorating
  • Complying with regulatory standards

The Essential Areas of Chimney Maintenance

To ward off fires and improve your chimney systems, these are the essential areas of chimney maintenance:

Physical Damage

Chimneys must never be used if there are physical damages such as cracks or broken pieces of tiles. These damages may mean that the chimney is too weak to handle fire and might collapse from the heat.

Loose Chimney Parts

Check the chimney cap, crown, chase, chase cover, throat damper, top sealing damper, and other parts. They must be intact and free from damage. If the components are loose, moisture can build up and cause leaks. It could also lead to the chimney’s deterioration, increase the possibility of fire, and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Noise Problems

A noisy chimney is not only annoying. It could also be dangerous. A buzzing sound in the chimney is a sign that it needs repair. Dripping noises could mean leaks at a chimney cap, crown, or other parts. A “splat” on a fireplace damper as water drops onto metal parts is also a sign of a leak.

Deposits of Creosote

Combustion gases from burning wood create creosote. They can build up along the lining of the flue. If there is creosote buildup, the inspector must indicate a recommendation for a certified chimney sweep in the chimney inspection form. Chimney cleaning is necessary to remove deposits of creosote and other combustible materials.

The 3 Chimney Inspection Types

Chimney inspections can be classified into Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. The greater the number level of chimney inspection, the more complex the procedure will be. The circumstances that triggered the inspection determines what level of inspection you will need.

Level 1 Chimney Inspection

A Level 1 chimney inspection involves the most fundamental steps in a chimney inspection. It is performed during annual chimney checkups. The chimney sweeper will assess all internal and external parts of your chimney or venting system. Doing so will ensure that your chimney does not have combustible deposits or obstructions that will keep your chimney from functioning correctly.

A Level 1 inspection includes:

  • Checking the external components of your chimney
  • Assessing the chimney interior
  • Inspecting the accessible parts of the appliance and chimney connection

Level 2 Chimney Inspection

A Level 2 chimney inspection is required when changes are made to the system, such as when the flue is to be upgraded or relocated. Damage from accidents or external events may also call for a level 2 chimney inspection.

Building fires and earthquakes are just some of the incidents that could warrant a Level 2 inspection. In most countries, a property cannot be sold without a Level 2 chimney inspection.

A Level 2 inspection is more thorough and details than a level 1 chimney inspection. It includes all visual assessments performed in a level 1 inspection and some additional work. The inspector uses a video camera to examine the flue. They will look check for damages or cracks in the chimney’s structure.

Level 3 Chimney Inspection

A Level 3 inspection is imperative when hints of a hazard appear in a Level 1 or Level 2 chimney inspection. A Level 3 inspection uses special tools to gain access to hard-to-reach areas. Unlike Levels 1 and 2, Level 3 might require the removal or destruction of the chimney structure.

A Level 3 chimney inspection incorporates all the necessary items in the Level 1 and Level 2 chimney inspection checklist. But it also includes the removal of some components of the chimney. In this level of inspection, it might be necessary to remove the interior chimney wall, chimney crown, and other parts to gain access to the areas for inspection. Doing so makes it possible for the inspector to determine the extent of damage and provide recommendations for repair.

Mobile Inspection App for Trouble-Free Chimney Inspection

The traditional method of performing chimney inspections with pen and paper is cumbersome for chimney sweeps. The process is especially difficult for rooftop inspections. In addition, photo evidence must be taken with an external camera. Afterward, the inspection data and photos must then be compiled into a report in the office. A cumbersome process, which is also prone to lose.

This cumbersome process can easily be improved by using a digital application. Lumiform is an app specifically for inspections. With its help, chimney inspectors can perform their inspections via a smartphone or tablet and also generate their reports right on the spot. The digital solution offers the following benefits for chimney inspections:

  • Get started digitally right away by downloading a chimney inspection checklist template from Lumiform’s template library.
  • Conduct chimney inspections from a mobile device via app, anytime, anywhere – even ofline. All inspections are automatically synchronized with the cloud as soon as a connection to the Internet is re-established.
  • Capture an unlimited number of evidence photos and add detailed notes on damage or repair needs.
  • Identify issues and assign immediate fixes to other teams within the organization. Track their completion via the dashboard.
  • Schedule periodic inspections, and receive notifications of upcoming inspections or when they are overdue.
  • After inspection completion, automatically generate chimney inspection reports on the spot and send them immediately to the client.
  • Share data securely stored in the Cloud with other team members and companies instantly and access it at any time.

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