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Annual Maintenance is Critical for Safe Operation
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) Code 211 requires a level 2 inspection any time a property undergoes a transfer of ownership. The goal of the inspection is to provide observations that may lead to the decrease of hazardous conditions associated with fireplaces and chimneys. If the inspection reveals that an existing chimney is not safe for the intended application, it must be repaired, rebuilt, lined, relined, or replaced with a vent or chimney to conform to building standards.
Level 1 Inspection
Observe and report on integrity
A level 1 chimney inspection assesses the structural integrity, resistance to weather and other elements. It is not designed to check the functionality, draft, or safe usage. A level 1 chimney inspection is traditionally included in a general home inspection. NFPA describes the scope of a level 1 inspection as: An inspection that is limited to the exterior and interior, readily accessible, and visible portions of the appliance, chimney connection and chimney.
Level 2 Inspection
Decrease Hazardous Conditions
A Level 2 Inspection is more intensive than a Level 1. It not only includes all of the steps of a Level 1 inspection, but requires a visual inspection of the inside portions of the fireplace, chimney and flue. This is accomplished by the use of a specialized camera that takes videos of the flue and any other areas that are not readily accessible.
Regardless of the level of inspection, annual maintenance is critical for safe operation. All fireplaces, fuel-burning stoves, and chimneys should be swept/maintained by a certified chimney sweep prior to their first use, and must be checked annually.