When you are either buying or selling a home, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires that you have a Level 2 chimney inspection performed by a professional chimney technician. At Old Hat Chimney Service, our chimney technicians have been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). During the CSIA certification process, our chimney sweeps were trained to inspect chimneys using the standards of the three levels of inspections defined by the NFPA and have performed many inspections of every level. If you are selling your home, we can help you assure potential buyers that your chimney and venting system functions properly and safely. If you are buying a home with a fireplace, you can trust Old Hat Chimney Service to provide an extensive inspection of its chimney. When it comes to the safety of yourself, your family, and your home, you want to be certain the fireplace and chimney system works as it should without any dangerous hazards. We are often asked by our customers what makes each level of chimney inspections different from the others, so we would like to share with you the details of each level of chimney inspection.
LEVEL 1 INSPECTION
The most basic level of chimney inspection, a Level 1 inspection is what you will typically receive during your annual chimney inspection. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will check the installation and connection of your heating appliance, ensure that there are no blockages of your flue, and check all of the readily accessible portions of the chimney structure and flue. Readily accessible areas mean places that can be reached for inspection without ladders or tools.
LEVEL 2 INSPECTION
The level you need when buying or selling a home, a Level 2 inspection is also required after you add or remove a heating appliance, after upgrading to a heating appliance of a different type, input rating, or efficiency, before relining or replacing the liner of your chimney, and after an operations malfunction or other event that likely damaged the chimney. This level inspects all accessible areas of the chimney, including the attic, crawl space, and basement. The chimney sweeps from Old Hat Chimney Service may have to move or open doors and panels as well as use special tools, such as a video camera.
LEVEL 3 INSPECTION
If there has been an incident such as a chimney fire that damaged your chimney and must be investigated, a Level 3 inspection is necessary for safety reasons. This level of inspection may also be needed if our certified chimney sweeps find or suspect any hazards in a Level 1 or 2 inspection that require further examination. All non-accessible areas are included in this level of inspection, and these areas may require the destruction of the chimney structure to be able to reach.
If you are buying or selling a house, contact Old Hat Chimney Service. You can be guaranteed our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will perform a top-notch Level 2 chimney inspection for you.
Hiring a chimney sweep who has been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to perform your annual chimney cleaning and inspecting means you are guaranteed that you have a highly trained and qualified technician doing the job. A CSIA-certified chimney sweep can be entrusted to be certain your chimney is properly cleaned, safe to use, and in excellent working condition. At Old Hat Chimney Service, our chimney sweeps have been through the CSIA certification process, which has given them further training, skills, and knowledge in this industry. Our customers often ask us what the benefits of this certification are, and we would like to answer this by telling you more about the importance of this professional credential.
What exactly is the CSIA?
A non-profit, educational organization, the CSIA dedicates itself to the prevention and elimination of chimney fires, carbon monoxide leaks, and other chimney-related dangers that can result in injuries or death. To achieve this goal, the CSIA provides a vast collection of resources to educate the public, chimney and venting system professionals, and fire prevention specialists about how to properly maintain fireplace, chimney, and venting systems. The CSIA offers the only national certification program in the chimney and venting system industry, which sets the standard for chimney sweeps.
What are the responsibilities and commitments of a CSIA-certified chimney sweep?
When a chimney sweep completes the training for CSIA certification, he or she must uphold specific obligations listed in the CSIA Code of Ethics, which include:
practicing CSIA-recommended chimney and venting safety techniques
improving skills, extending a knowledge base, and learning new techniques to stay updated on safety standards for the chimney and venting of fireplaces
knowing all applicable local building codes concerning chimneys and fully complying with these codes
following closely all manufacturers’ installation instructions for chimney and venting products
dealing honestly with customers, refraining from unfair and deceptive practices, and informing customers about essential chimney and venting safety procedures
behaving professionally and respectfully when performing chimney and venting duties.
What is the process of CSIA certification?
To become certified by the CSIA, one must do the following:
attend a one-day intensive review session in person or a one-week review session online
pass a one-hour exam based on the 2011 edition of the CSIA publication [italics]Successful Chimney Sweeping[italics] and the 2013 edition of [italics]NFPA 211: Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances[italics] from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA)
pass an open-book 90-minute exam using his/her copy of [italics]2006 International Residential Code[italics], published by the International Code Council
agree to pay the Annual Certification Fee
sign the CSIA Code of Ethics
What topics are covered in the reviews and exams for certification?
To receive CSIA certification, one must prove knowledge and proficiency in the following areas:
the technical aspects of chimney dynamics and construction
skilled performances of the best and current techniques in the industry
wood-burning physics and the formation of creosote residue, which is one of the leading causes of chimney fires
familiarity of and compliance with all applicable codes, regulations, clearances, and standards
the care and installation of a variety of types of solid fuel appliances
all requirements by the US Environmental Protection Agency
To hire one of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, contact Old Hat Chimney Service today to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection.
Water in your chimney is a recipe for disaster. Have CSIA-certified experts waterproof your chimney as well as repair water damage, if there are any.
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water is the biggest enemy of your masonry chimney. When your chimney brickwork is penetrated by water, all sorts of expensive damage is possible, and when leaks develop, it is definitely time to have the leaks repaired by a CSIA-certified company like Old Hat Chimney Service. With experienced technicians thoroughly inspecting your chimney for the leak source, our staff can zero in on the problem, fix your leak, and even safeguard your chimney from future leaks, saving you money in more repairs. We would like to tell you more about our common chimney leak repairs and prevention methods.
The seal between the roof and your chimney, flashing plays an important role in keeping water out of your chimney. The CSIA describes flashing as preventing rainwater from running down your chimney, entering your home’s interior, damaging your ceilings and walls, and even rotting your rafters. At Old Hat Chimney Service, we realize the importance of customized flashing, and we do all of our flashing in layers to be more effective. We can even design a custom cricket, a raised ridge built against the problem chimney wall, to encourage water to flow into your gutters, away from your chimney.
● chimney crown
Located at the top of your flue, your chimney crown also protects your chimney from water penetration. However, your chimney crown can suffer cracks and other damage, and water can get in through these cracks. Chimney leaks are a sign of chimney crown damage, as are white stains or green growth around the top of your masonry chimney. The CSIA recommends a chimney crown be constructed of a Portland cement-based mixture and formed to provide an overhang projecting beyond all sides of the chimney by a minimum of two inches, and our Old Hat Chimney Service CSIA-certified technicians will do that as well as repair cracks.
● chimney cap
Even more important in the battle against water penetration, a chimney cap sits on the top of your chimney and keeps out water, debris, and animals. A properly fitted and installed chimney cap should last for years. According to the CSIA, a chimney cap is the most inexpensive preventive measure against water penetration and chimney damage. At Old Hat Chimney Service, we sell a wide variety of styles and sizes in different types of metals, and our professional installers will customize your chimney cap to perfectly fit the top of your chimney.
● masonry joints
If your exterior masonry joints have deteriorated, water can leak through those cracks. Old Hat Chimney Service provides the best way to repair these damaged joints: tuckpointing. Extensively trained in this process, our specialists have vast experience in tuckpointing and can restore historical chimneys as well as repair damage by removing the old mortar and and replacing the joint with new mortar.
If you are noticing chimney leak symptoms, contact Old Hat Chimney Service today to schedule an appointment to talk to our CSIA-certified staff about repairing your leaky chimney.
Knowing the different levels of inspection can ease your mind and give you more confidence in what chimney sweeps do to ensure your home is safe.
If your home contains a fireplace, you must understand the importance of having a proper sweep and inspection administered at least once a year. Without these precautions, your chimney could become a hazard to you and your family’s health. Chimney sweeping has developed over time, making it more convenient for you and the technician. What started as a job for young orphan boys has now developed into a much easier process with big brushes and machines in modern times. If you need to schedule your chimney’s appointment call Old Hat Chimney.
Why do I need a sweep?
It is important that you have an annual sweep because things you cannot see are building up in your chimney as you read this article. First, there are creosotes, which are particles produced when the fire burns and that are released up into your chimney. Over time, creosote clumps together and causes blockages which could lead to draft problems or chimney fires. Draft problems are linked to carbon monoxide poisoning, because smoke is not able to exit the home properly. Chimney fires are fires that originate inside of the chimney structure, not the fireplace, and can be devastating. Also, nature can block your chimney when animal droppings or twigs make it inside.
It is important that you make sure whoever does your chimney sweep is Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified. This means that the technicians follow certain guidelines that will get you the most from your sweep. You can find information on these businesses through the CSIA website or by asking around your community.
A level one chimney inspection is the most common level of inspection and what your technician will typically do if there have been no trouble with your unit. If you keep your maintenance up to date this basic procedure can be used for you too. With a level one inspection, you will get a chimney sweep and an inspection of any visible parts of the chimney. To top it off, they will check your flue to make sure its in working order.
A level two inspection is more detailed than a level 1 inspection. These are usually administered when the technician notices a potential problem in your chimney during your annual inspection. If they do alert you of a problem, do not use the unit, as it could be a safety hazard. Also, if you change the way you use your fireplace or chimney, such as the addition or replacement of different parts, fuel types, or relining, have a level two inspection done. Lastly, if you are new to the chimney, it is important to have a level two to become familiar with what you are using.
A level three inspection is the most in depth form of inspecting. This should be done whenever a problem is not only in the chimney, but spreading to the rest of the home as well. For example, if you have had mold grow inside of your chimney and it is spreading to your foundation you need a more complicated procedure in which they may have to remove parts of the wall to rid your home of the mold.
How can I prepare?
Since a sweep is similar to an overall health screening you would have done on yourself, there are ways to prepare for it. First, do not burn any fires in your home or at least 24 hours to make sure the unit is cool enough to work in. Also, have enough space in your home for the crew to work. Even though they try to keep the mess minimal and do clean up after themselves, move furniture and anything valuable away from the unit. Lastly, keep your pets away for both their safety and the also the workers. If you have questions, call your local chimney experts.
When you think of the people who keep your chimneys in tip-top condition, did you ever wonder how they evolved? If you did, here’s a brief history lesson on chimney sweeps.
Chimney sweeping used to be an extremely dangerous job – particularly when mostly children were used.
It all started in England. The use of chimneys were very popular and the government found an avenue to make money out of it that they created a mandatory rule of paying a hearth tax. This affected the people in many ways because the amount paid for having a chimney was a bit huge for an average person. Because of this, people started to look for ways to lessen the tax amount by way of interconnecting chimney flues to one fireplace.
Also during this time, coal products were in demand. The bad part about it was that after combustion, the fireplace became very dirty and needed to be cleaned every single day which became very tiring and stressful for homeowners. However, this situation paved the way to what is now known as chimney sweeps. The dirty fireplaces and chimneys needed some cleaning and so it created jobs for people.
Chimney sweeping actually started with children; homeless, poor, orphaned kids. They had a chimney master who fed them, clothed them and gave them a place to live in exchange for hard labor in cleaning big factory chimneys for big companies with only a small brush to use. This was mainly because they were the only ones who can fit inside the small areas of the chimney. But this did not go on for a long time thanks to the efforts of the British Parliament that passed the Act of Regulation of Chimney Sweepers in 1864.
At present, the chimney sweeping industry has developed highly sophisticated and innovative equipment to make the chimney sweep’s job a little easier. Chimney sweeps have come to be very handy because they are now able to not only do the basic cleaning but also do repairs and replacements for certain parts of the chimney that needs attention too.
With the help of the CSIA, a world-renowned organization that produces professional and credible chimney sweeps, they are now, more than ever, ready to properly maintain the stability and overall efficacy of your chimney. We here at Old Hat Chimney Services pride ourselves in that. So for all your chimney worries and needs, just give us a call and we’ll give you the best service a chimney sweep is expected of.
This company is great. They came out on time and really know what they are talking about. They know how to fix your chimney the right way to give the best results and at a great price. I will be using this company for all my chimney needs from now on!
~ Daniel Hackett