Protecting Your Client’s Investment
As a Realtor, you may not know when the last chimney and fireplace system inspection was performed on the property for sale or if one was ever performed. In any case, your client should have a Level 2 Chimney Inspection performed.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states: A Level 2 Chimney Inspection shall be conducted upon sale or transfer of property (see the NFPA 211).
A Level 2 Chimney Inspection is a comprehensive video examination of the chimney and fireplace system. This type of inspection utilizes a specific kind of video camera to see and record the condition of the chimney inside. A chimney inspector must have specialized knowledge to properly determine the safety and usage of the system. The structural condition of the system is also determined.
Per the NFPA: In the 2011 to 2015 period, there were an estimated annual average of 16,810 home structure fires involving fireplaces and chimneys, and $262 million in direct property damage per year.
What a Level 2 Inspection commonly uncovers
- Creosote build-up
- Internal flue damage
- Gaps between flue liners
- Internal cracking (mortar or flue tiles)
- Damaged masonry chimney (still very common)
- Disconnected and sometimes missing chimney components
- Poorly installed prefabricated chimneys (gas appliances or wood burning) and fireplaces
- Animal nesting
Creosote is a tar-like substance that sticks to the walls of a chimney when wood is burned. It is highly flammable, causing unwanted chimney fires if ignited.
In the 2011 to 2015 period, there were an estimated average of 30 deaths and 90 civilian injuries each year, per the National Fire Prevention Association.
Did you know?
Installation errors and repairs not performed correctly have caused chimneys to be subject to fire safety hazards. After the 1994 earthquake, many chimneys were not repaired standardly.
A Level 2 inspection is as important for a new home or newly remodeled home to discover any installation errors, since those may still be covered under warranty.