An unmaintained chimney is a recipe for disaster. Over time and without maintenance, your flue liner may break down, resulting in a high potential for fire. If your flue is blocked, then gasses such as carbon monoxide may accumulate inside your house. Deterioration in the brickwork or mortar is unattractive, falling bricks present a hazard to pedestrians, and of course a deteriorated chimney will be less effective at radiating heat.
As far as the sweeping process is concerned, we’ll make sure that none of the debris from inside the chimney will make it inside your home.
Chimney Sweeping Services
We’ll thoroughly seal the enclosure of your fireplace, sweep from the bottom to the top, and then dispose of the debris. We’ll even clean your furnace flue! Our Chimney Sweeping service is broken down into three steps:
Our technicians will come inside with booties, laying drop cloths down. They will then set up their work area with their necessary equipment. Our technicians use rotary powered sweep poles to sweep the inside of the chimney while using a 3 motor powered vacuum to ensure a dust free process. Our sweep is performed from the fireplace/unit and up while proceeding to sweep the smoke chamber and flue. They will brush and vacuum out the firebox/unit.
After the sweep, we then will perform an inspection. Our technicians will visually inspect the firebox/unit, then work their way up through the smoke chamber and into the linear system using a 2 headed camera system. This camera allows our technicians to get a 360° view from bottom to top. After the internal inspection, our technicians then go outside and proceed to inspect the full exterior part of the chimney/system from the ground, to the roofline, and up to the top. Our inspections are to ensure your fireplace/system is up to code and suitable for use.
After performing the sweep & inspection process our technicians will review the report with the customer. They will discuss any findings and any recommended repairs. Our customers receive a multiple page PDF of their inspection report. Continuing on with an annual sweep and inspection this report allows us to monitor your system.
All chimney owners should have their chimneys regularly inspected and swept. Four Winds Masonry and Chimney is happy to conduct thorough inspections of your chimney, both inside and out, starting from the fireplace all the way up to the chimney cover. We’ll make sure that the chimney is safe for use, free of moisture, debris, and other damage and obstructions that need repair. We use a camera to inspect the smoke chamber and bottom flue tiles.
Chimney Inspection Levels
There are three levels of inspections. Below are the definitions according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
Level One Inspection
If your appliance or your venting system has not changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a level one inspection is a minimum requirement. A level one inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same appliance.
In a level one inspection, your chimney service technician should examine the readily accessible** portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible* portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. Your technician will be looking for the basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections.
The technician will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.
Level Two Inspection
A level two inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape of, or material in, the flue (i.e. relining), or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency.
Additionally, a level two inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operation malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events as well as weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted. A level two inspection is a more in-depth inspection than a level one inspection.
When a level one or level two inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without special tools to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue, a level three inspection is recommended. A level two inspection includes everything in a level one inspection, plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl spaces and, basements.
It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations. There are no specialty tools (i.e. demolition equipment) required to open doors, panels or coverings in performing a level two inspection.
A level two inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney.
No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required by a level two inspection.
Level Three Inspection
A level three inspection addresses the proper construction and the condition of concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Removal or destruction, as necessary, of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure will be required for the completion of a level three inspection.
A level three inspection includes all the areas and items checked in a level one and a level two inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary. Removal of components (i.e., chimney crown, interior chimney wall) shall be required only when necessary to gain access to areas that are the subject of the inspection.
When serious hazards are suspected, a level two inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.