Skip the Guesswork & Get Peace of Mind With a Chimney Inspection

Here at Advance Chimney Specialists, Inc., our goal is to reduce fire and carbon monoxide hazards and improve the quality of life and comfort of our clients in Pittsburgh and the neighboring communities.

For this reason, we always follow all safety and fire prevention standards and observe all local codes and regulations. And one safety and fire prevention standard that is absolutely vital is the chimney inspection.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) state that all chimney systems should be inspected by a certified professional annually.

Why Do You Need Chimney Inspections?

Whether you use your system or not, investing in a chimney inspection each and every year can keep you abreast of issues and concerns with your system.

Why is it important to know about issues and damage, even if you don’t use your fireplace? Because a lot can happen in a year. Water can get into your chimney through leaky flashing or a deteriorating crown, and that water can do damage to your home, regardless of whether your chimney system is used or not.

And if you do use your chimney, you’ll want to be confident that you’ve done everything you can to reduce fire and carbon monoxide risk when you fire up the fireplace this year.

An inspection will give you the peace of mind that your system is ready for use – or provide you with the information you need to make necessary repairs before using the system again.

Why Does Every Service Start With a Chimney Inspection?

Think it may be time for a chimney sweeping or that you may need repair work done? Everything starts with an inspection. We put our clients first and don’t want to waste your money on services that aren’t necessary.

For example, you may not need a sweeping every year. The NFPA states that every chimney should be inspected annually, but only swept as necessary. If you don’t have your chimney inspected, you could end up spending money on a sweeping that you didn’t really need.

For this reason, our protocol on every appointment is to start with a level one inspection, or a level two inspection if the circumstances call for it.

Level One Inspection – $199

Circumstances when a level one inspection may be performed include:

  • Annual inspection
  • During a routine sweeping if it’s determined that an inspection is needed
  • When replacing an appliance with one that is similar in type, input rating, and efficiency

How we inspect the chimney during a level one inspection:

This is a visual inspection performed with the naked eye. We generally do a curbside inspection of the exterior, but we don’t typically access the roof during a level one.

  • We inspect the readily accessible areas of the chimney structure and flue. Readily accessible means that we can inspect without the use of tools to remove doors, panels, or coverings.
  • We check for obstructions and combustible deposits in the flue.
  • We check for basic appliance installation and connection.
Frechette Chimney - Chimney Sweeping

Chimney Inspections

What the level one inspection is intended to determine:

A level one chimney inspection is intended to verify the suitability of continued use under the same conditions using the same appliance or appliances.

How long does it take to complete a level one chimney inspection?

The actual inspection takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Completing the report takes about 25 to 30 minutes. If a sweeping is recommended, it typically takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

Readily accessible means that we can inspect without the use of tools to remove doors, panels, or coverings.

  • We check for obstructions and combustible deposits in the flue.
  • We check for basic appliance installation and connection.

What the level one inspection is intended to determine:

A level one chimney inspection is intended to verify the suitability of continued use under the same conditions using the same appliance or appliances.

How long does it take to complete a level one chimney inspection?

The actual inspection takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Completing the report takes about 25 to 30 minutes. If a sweeping is recommended, it typically takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

Chimney sweep

Level Two Inspection – $299

Circumstances when a level two inspection may be performed include:

  • Sale or transfer of a property
  • After an operating malfunction or external event likely to have caused damage
  • Upon addition or removal of a connected appliance of dissimilar type, input rating, or efficiency
  • Prior to relining or replacing the flue liner

Note: If we recommend a level two inspection and you still opt for a level one, it shall be indicated on your inspection report as such.

How we inspect the chimney during a level two inspection:

A level two inspection includes all aspects of a level one inspection, as well as a video inspection.

We take still photos of damage and inspect the following:

  • Accessible portions of the chimney exterior
  • Accessible portions of the attic
  • Accessible portions of the crawl space
  • Accessible portions of the basement
  • Accessible portions of the appliance and chimney connection

Accessible means exposed or capable of being exposed (via removal of doors, panels, or coverings, using commonly available tools) for inspection, maintenance, or repair, without damaging the chimney or finish.

What the level two inspection is intended to determine:

A level two inspection is intended to verify the suitability of the chimney for new or changed conditions of service. A level one inspection is not sufficient to determine the serviceability of the chimney.

How long does it take to complete a level two chimney inspection?

The actual inspection takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Completing the report takes about 30 to 45 minutes. If a sweeping is recommended, it typically takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

Real Estate Transaction Inspections

Buying or selling a home? Be sure to schedule a real estate chimney inspection. Why? Because home inspections and chimney inspections are two completely different services. Home inspectors take a very basic and high-level look at the chimney, but they will not look at all of the things we look at during a chimney inspection.

Home inspectors provide a valuable service to their clients, and while they may know many things about many different aspects of the home, they are not trained chimney professionals. Their primary function is to establish a baseline on whether or not a chimney needs to be swept or if any obvious defects exist with the chimney itself. But ultimately, chimney evaluations should always be deferred to CSIA-certified chimney professionals. For this reason, it is always a good idea to have a CSIA-certified chimney professional come out to perform a chimney inspection before buying or selling a home.

Important Information About Your Chimney Inspection…

A level one inspection ($199) will be performed unless your circumstances prompt a level two inspection, which is $299. Please review the inspection information above so you know when a level one or two inspection may be prompted.

If we determine that the chimney needs to be swept at the time of our inspection, we can take care of it for you for an additional $100. However, the sweeping must be done on the day that the recommendation was made, so please allow for the extra time on the day of your inspection. See the sweeping section that pertains to your appliance or fireplace prior to our arrival, so you can be prepared in the event that we recommend it be swept.

If the creosote is sufficiently bad and a routine sweep won’t suffice, it will necessitate a mechanical cleaning in collaboration with chemicals. This will add an additional cost between $1,100 and $1,800, depending on the extent and nature of the buildup.

If you opt-out of the recommended sweep, you will be responsible for a trip charge of $125 for our time, because we cannot inspect a dirty chimney.

If you hire us to inspect your chimney and it is a vent-free product that doesn’t use a chimney or you DON’T have a chimney, you will be responsible for a trip charge of $125 for our time.

If you fail to give us 24 hours’ notice of a cancellation by mail or email, you shall be responsible for the full cost of the scheduled service, unless you can provide reasonable proof of extenuating circumstances that prevented you from contacting us.

Inspecting or sweeping a chimney doesn’t make it functional. In fact, the inspection is done to help ascertain whether or not the chimney has deficiencies. In the event that deficiencies exist, Advance Chimney Specialists, Inc. will prepare an estimate for the work, as long as we are providing said service.

Call or Reach Out Online Today

Is it time to schedule your annual inspection? Give us a call! We provide top-notch service and take excellent care of our clients in Pittsburgh, Uniontown, and all throughout Southwest PA. Call or reach out to us here on our website and we’ll get your chimney inspection scheduled ASAP.

 

Chimney sweeping is one of the services we provide to our customers most frequently, and we love knowing it makes their homes safer year after year.