March 15, 2000 – Indianapolis, Ind. – The Chimney Safety Institute
of America (CSIA) reports that a new industry standard for chimney and venting inspections
has been adopted to help homeowners better understand the level of work required
by a certified chimney sweep to adequately examine a system. Until now, the scope
of work during an inspection has been at the professional discretion of the certified
“Providing accurate and complete information to homeowners is
one of the primary missions of a certified chimney sweep,” says Greg Williamson,
executive director of the CSIA. “It's their goal to give homeowners peace of mind.
This new standard helps define for homeowners the type of inspection their certified
chimney sweep needs to complete.”
This new standard now classifies chimney and venting system inspections into
three levels -- Level I, Level II or Level III. Each level of inspection has a specific
scope of work and specific criteria.
On January 13, 2000, the National Fire Protection Association adopted these levels
of inspection into code NFPA 211 (Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid
Fuel Burning Appliances). NFPA 211 is the standard upon which certified chimney
sweeps base their services.
Once the inspection level is determined, the certified chimney sweep explains
the scope of work to the homeowner as follows:
Level I Inspection: This inspection is
recommended when the chimney and venting system is easily accessible and
when the homeowner is planning to maintain its current use. In general,
this the level of inspection performed in most homes. In a Level I inspection
a certified chimney sweep verifies that the chimney structure is sound and
that the chimney is free of obstructions and combustible deposits, such
Level II Inspection: The addition of a new home heating
appliance or a change in the type of fuel a homeowner is burning requires
a Level II inspection. This inspection level is also required upon the sale
or transfer of a property or after an operating malfunction or external
event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. The scope of
a Level II inspection includes that of the Level I inspection plus the inspection
of accessible portions of the attics, crawl spaces and basements. It may
also include a performance test such as a smoke test or a pressure test
and possibly an interior chimney video inspection if recommended by the
certified chimney sweep.
Level III Inspection: When a Level I or Level II inspection
suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without
access to concealed areas, a Level III inspection is recommended. This type
of inspection confirms the proper construction and condition of concealed
portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Level III inspections are
generally necessary when investigating an incident that has caused damage
to a chimney or building, or where a hazard is detected and suspected.
“Chimney sweeps across the country have reported to us that these new
standards allow them to better communicate to their customers the need for
more comprehensive inspection techniques,” notes Williamson. “We anticipate
that these changes will result in an increased level of service and protection
to the homeowner.”
Both the CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association recommend yearly chimney
inspections to help prevent fire and carbon monoxide poisonings. The CSIA also recommends
that chimney and venting inspections be completed by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps.
CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps have earned the industry's most respected credential
by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards
for the construction and maintenance of chimneys and venting systems.
The CSIA, established in 1983, is a non-profit, educational institution, dedicated
to educating the public about the prevention of chimney safety hazards.
For a free copy of the brochure “Chimney Inspections Explained for the
Homeowner” or for a list of CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps, call (800) 536-0118 or
visit the CSIA web site at www.cisa.org. The CSIA is located at 2155 Commercial
Drive, Plainfield IN., 46168.