Inspected?? The NFPA 211 answers this question by stating in chapter 13, 13.2 Annual Inspections. Chimney, Fireplaces, and Vents shall be inspected once a year in accordance with the requirements of section 14.3. It is our professional opinion that an annual inspection is necessary to assist in disclosing any potential hazards that may have occurred from one year to the next. The level of Inspection will differ from situation to situation. Please consult one of our on staff F.I.R.E. Certified Inspectors for the right inspection for your application.
Swept?? Your chimney should be swept as needed. This question is often confused with annual inspections. For many clients once a year is simply not enough. Burning habits, moisture content of the wood, temperature of flue gases, combustion air needs of the appliance; to name a few, all affect the amount of creosote buildup in a system. We recommend sweeping your chimney system prior to a quarter inch (1/4 Inch) of build up.
Fire?? First things first! Get everyone out of the home and call 911 from a neighbor’s phone or a cellular phone.
Once emergency services have deemed the dwelling safe for you to return, we recommend scheduling a chimney inspection. Only through a detailed inspection by a qualified inspector, is it possible to determine potential hazards caused by the failure of materials within the fireplace and chimney systems. Most chimney systems are designed to contain 1 fire. It is our professional opinion that you should never use a chimney system after a fire until it has been inspected by a qualified inspector.
Smoke?? There is nothing worse than a fireplace that doesn’t work! Not only is the smoke a nuisance, it is a health hazard. The fireplace or stove should not be operated until the condition is repaired. There are many reasons a fireplace smokes. Some of the reasons include inadequate combustion air, (especially true in tight houses), improper chimney sizing, negative pressure in the dwelling, a stack affect in homes with severe pressure zones, downsizing of a chimney due to debris or creosote buildup or just poor location of the chimney itself. The good news is many of these smoking problems can be solved. The first step to solving this problem is an accurate inspection by a qualified fireplace inspector.
Gas fireplaces need service and maintenance just like any appliance. The manufacturer of these appliances will typically outline a maintenance, or service schedule in their operating manuals. There are many components working together, and if just one of the components fails, typically the whole system fails. The best course of action is annual maintenance to ensure working parts, and that the fire, continue to be the aesthetic center point you expect and originally intended.
Most people are unaware that this service even exists, let alone how essential this service is. Even though a home owner may clean their lint trap after every load, lint will still build up in the duct. Lint is highly flammable and accounts for many fires every year. Lint build up in a vent will also cost the homeowner more energy (more money) to dry their clothes. The lint reduces airflow making your dryer much less efficient. A standard clean and service will involve unhooking the dryer, vent and using specialized equipment to clear the system of the accumulating lint. In today’s world, most architects put washers and dryers where they are convenient for the homeowner. This placement makes for a long travel of the dryer duct. Lint builds up in dryer ducts and causes clogs. Having a dryer serviced once a year will reduce your energy loss and decrease your chances of a dryer vent fire.