Winter seems much better with a cosy fireplace and a cup of hot beverage. But these chimneys are as dangerous as merry and cosy they make us, if not cleaned and maintained properly. Annual Chimney sweep and maintenance is the only way to avoid a chimney fire. Skipping the annual chimney sweep is the major cause of structure fires, according to the National chimney sweep association UK, which recommends an annual chimney inspection. There are many professionals who carry out the work of chimney sweeps in the UK.
The chimney sweep association lays down the stages or levels of chimney sweeps and also provides chimney sweep training in order to maintain the quality of chimney sweeps and chimney inspection services provided by various agencies as it forms an integral part of house fire safety. Following are the levels of chimney inspection that one must follow annually to avoid chimney fires.
- If the appliance or the venting system in your house has not been changed yet and the amount of usage would remain unchanged in the future as well, then you should at least go for a level 1 check-up. The inspection would include inspection of all the accessible parts of your chimney’s exteriors, interiors and other accessible parts of your appliance and chimney connection. Thus the technician would look for the basic soundness of the structure of your chimney and flue. The technician will also check whether chimney is free of obstructions and combustible deposits.
- In case any change has been made to your system then you should go for level two inspections that include a more in depth inspection as compared to the level one inspection. In addition to the inspection particulars specified in level one inspection, level two inspections includes inspection of attics, crawl spaces, basements and includes a visual inspection by video scanning or other means. It takes care of clearances from the combustibles in accessible locations. The changes in the system include changes to the shape, material, fuel type or the flue type, replacement or addition of an alliance of dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency type. Further, an inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operation malfunction or external event that might cause damage to the chimney.
- A level three inspection is recommended in a scenario where a need to address removal or destruction of any portion of the chimney. Hence the level three type of inspection includes all the particulars of the level one and two type of inspection plus any removal of certain components of building or chimney. The components which may be subject to removal are chimney crown and interior chimney wall, but only when it is important to gain access to the area that is subject of inspection.