They say that a picture can say a thousand words, but sometimes the right picture taken in the right place can be save you thousands of dollars.  While a Level 1 chimney inspection only requires a visual inspection, in some cases our certified chimney technicians need to take a closer look at the problem such as looking behind the damper.And that’s when we’ll use a Chim-Scan chimney inspection camera system. This specially designed chimney inspection camera is designed to operate in residential chimney flues sized from 3” vent pipe to 13”x18” fireplace flues. The great thing about the Chim-Scan inspection systems is that they are designed to produce HD quality imagery from inside the chimney structure, documenting the chimneys interior general condition or locate where defects may be hidden. When using the Chim-Scan® inspection camera after chimney sweeping, we can get a clear picture of chimney to see if every section of the chimney is operational.

Some people think that shining a strong flashlight will identify if there are any cracks or spaced.  But it isn’t enough. A gap in the chimney masonry reduces its ability to operate properly and allows heat to escape from the chimney.  Gaps allow heat from the flue liner to get transferred to the bricks which is far from ideal. The bricks then transfer that heat to the home’s wood structure. Excessive heat exposure over time leads to pyrolysis, which is when the ignition point of the wood drops creating the conditions that can eventually lead to in the worst case scenario, a structure fire.

One of our customers was having his 1990s built home re-sided and when the contactors were removing the siding they realized that the sheathing around the chimney was burnt and extremely dangerous since it could ignite the next time she lit a fire in her fireplace. She called us to inspect the chimney requiring a Level 2 chimney inspection. We found that the smoke chamber was not parged properly, the plaster or roughcast mixture had not been properly applied to the mortar. That’s all that it took to cause this. The building inspector must have missed it at the time of the building inspection. The strange thing was that there was no visible evidence of any issues before the siding was removed. Long story short, we went in and performed a Level 2 chimney inspection and we were able to diagnose and correct the issue before it became an even bigger headache.

In all my years as a certified chimney cleaner, I have probably seen it all. When dealing with structural issues there really are no shortcuts. It’s one of those things that you have to get right.