Although many of the tasks involved with chimney maintenance and installation should be handled only by a certified chimney professional, there are some things that homeowners can do to ensure that they are happy with their installations.
Tips for Chimney Installation
There are two main things to consider when it comes to installing a chimney. The first is the location of your fireplace, and the second is the type of material used to build your chimney. It is up to you, as the homeowner, to decide where you want your fireplace located. However, you’ll need to remember that your chimney will be located directly above your fireplace, and it cannot compromise the structure of your home. As far as materials, it is best to opt for masonry rather than concrete slabs covered by a brick veneer. Solid masonry is less prone to cracks and leaks than other materials.
When to Schedule an Inspection
Once your chimney has been installed, maintenance is very important for your health and your home. Chimney professionals recommend having your chimney inspected at least once per year, but if you live in an area prone to weather extremes, or if you use your fireplace for most of the year, twice-annual inspections are even better. You should also have your chimney inspected in the following situations:
· If you notice soot in your home;
· Before each heating season, typically at the end of summer or start of fall;
· Before you buy a home;
· If you have had a chimney or house fire;
· When lightning strikes your home;
· If a tree or other object has hit your chimney;
· If there are stains inside or outside your home in the general area of the chimney; and
· Immediately after a roof replacement.
Keep in mind that chimney cleaning is also very important. You should schedule this once per year if you only use your fireplace in the winter or twice per year if you use your fireplace year-round.
Things to Inspect
Although chimney professionals will inspect all of the components and parts of your chimney during your scheduled maintenance visits, you can also check them on your own between visits to help protect your health and property. There are three different levels of chimney inspection:
· Level I – This is a visual inspection of the various accessible parts of your chimney, both inside and outside your home. This is the type of inspection that homeowners will schedule as part of routine maintenance.
· Level II – This type of inspection covers everything in a Level I inspection, but also includes inspections in homes with accessible attics, crawl spaces, and basements. It includes video scanning, which allows the professional to see inside of inaccessible areas.
· Level III – This is the most thorough type of inspection and it is designed to help professionals discover structural damage or other problems in inaccessible areas of the chimney. If your home has been damaged by fire, an earthquake, lightning, or a severe weather event like high winds or a tornado, a Level III inspection is the best option.
Understanding more about the installation and maintenance of chimneys can help you better understand when it is important to schedule inspections and what you should expect. This way, you can choose the best company to get the job done.