Book Your Yearly Chimney Inspection With Our Certified Sweeps
An annual chimney inspection by one of Winston’s Chimney Service’s Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweeps is an affordable and necessary investment that can reduce the risk of chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other dangers in your home. Scheduling a professional inspection will also help extend the lifespan of your fireplace or chimney by identifying potential problems that are likely to occur if left unchecked.
Our technicians have earned the industry’s most respected credentials by passing extensive examinations based on fire codes, clearances, and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimneys and venting systems.
If you need to book your inspection in the Northern Virginia or Washington, DC area, there’s no better crew to hire than us. Call now to get this maintenance on the calendar.
What To Expect From Us
Because we respect you and your property at the highest level, you can count on always receiving mess-free services from our certified and experienced techs. We care about putting your needs first, and we’ll always make the safety of the communities we serve (and live in and work in too) the number one priority.
Winston’s Chimney Service offers three levels of inspection, as recommended by both the CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), to prevent hazards associated with your venting systems such as house and chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, smoke exposure, water or structural damage, and more.
Level 1 Chimney Inspection
These are recommended if you have not changed – and do not plan to change – your heating appliance or system. This level is considered appropriate during an annual service visit or some light masonry repair estimates.
It’ll include a basic overview of readily accessible portions of the chimney, allowing us to spot any signs of damage or harmful buildup that could put your home at risk.
Level 2 Chimney Inspection
This level is required when any change is made to your system or when you replace an appliance with another of a dissimilar type or efficiency level. It is also required upon the sale or transfer of property, and is also suggested when an operating malfunction or external event (like a chimney fire, tornado, etc.) has occurred.
Level 2 inspections include everything completed in a level 1 inspection, as well as a video camera inspection to document the interior condition of the chimney.
Level 3 Chimney Inspection
A level 3 inspection is conducted only after a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection indicates a hazard in concealed portions of the chimney and flue that aren’t accessible.
It involves the removal, and possibly destruction, of portions of the chimney or building structure, as necessary.
What happens after an inspection?
An inspection by our trained staff may uncover some cracks or other problems with the masonry work on your fireplace. If so, rest assured that our experience with chimney and fireplace services includes knowing how to fix any problems we come across. We’ll recommend the next best steps, then move forward to get your system in the best shape possible.
Not sure which level of inspection is right for you? Give us a shout – we’d be happy to answer your questions and direct you towards the best services for your needs.
Who Should Complete My Chimney Inspection?
Keeping their fireplaces and chimneys safer for use throughout the year is essential for Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern VA homeowners. Regular chimney and fireplace inspections can detect the smallest of cracks or blockages before they turn into serious problems. This can help maintain the safety of your home, as well as its heating efficiency, to keep you comfortable throughout the cold months.
In order to ensure reliable service and quality materials, it’s important to hire a professional that is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
What does it mean to be CSIA-certified?
This national certification requires extensive training on fireplaces and chimneys, and the advice of instructors incorporates the most up-to-date safety regulations available. The technicians at Winston’s Chimney Service carry this vital certification and train throughout the year to stay on top of any changes, ensuring we come to the job as sharp and ready as possible.
In addition, the CSIA requires getting recertified every three years to keep the credential valid – so rest assured our knowledge is always current and up-to-date.
Make sure you’re doing your due diligence in protecting yourself and your family by scheduling regular chimney and fireplace inspections every single year with our qualified techs.
Ready to schedule services? Book your appointment with us today.
What Common Problems Occur When Regular Fireplace & Chimney Inspections Are Neglected?
Without regular chimney inspections, homeowners can experience a number of problems.
One of the most pressing and dangerous is the buildup of creosote, which is a hazardous byproduct of burning fuel like wood and fossil fuels, including oil – all of which are prevalent here in the Northeast. This buildup can cause blockages, smoke backup, carbon monoxide leaks, and flue/chimney fires.
Additionally, without periodic inspections, the chimney flue and brick may become cracked or damaged due to shifting in the structure of the house or poor installation work. All of these issues can lead to bigger problems, like fumes and smoke invading the living space and affecting the health of those in the home.
Finally, there are many animals, such as birds or squirrels, that love to build nests within your warm and sturdy flue. This is not only a nuisance, but also a fire hazard that should be inspected and taken care of immediately.
In the end, regular chimney inspections help to identify a wide range of problems before they become larger and more expensive to fix – and before they can cause damage to your home or harm to your family.
How Do Regular Fireplace & Chimney Inspections Help Prevent House Fires?
Fireplaces and chimneys that are regularly inspected and properly maintained can help to prevent lots of threats, one of the biggest being house fires.
Certified chimney technicians are trained to identify any flaws or obstructions within a chimney system such as creosote, blockages caused by nests, or any hidden damage caused by unnoticed moisture (which is more common than most homeowners realize). All of these things make your home more vulnerable, giving heat and flames easier access to any adjacent woodwork.
In the end, regular inspections of fireplaces will help detect problems before they turn into major home damages that are more serious and costly to repair. With an accurate evaluation from an experienced and certified technician, you can ensure that your fireplace and chimney are functioning correctly and efficiently all year round.
Can Regular Fireplace & Chimney Inspections Save Me Money in the Long Run?
Absolutely. In fact, getting regular inspections of your fireplace and chimney is one of the best ways to save money on chimney care over time. If your fireplaces and chimneys are not regularly serviced, essential components of the system and of your home can easily become damaged or corroded, which then leaves you with more expensive-to-address issues later on.
On top of that, fireplace services may detect serious issues like an excessive amount of creosote, which is a byproduct of burning wood or oil and can be highly combustible. And if an affordable inspection can help you avoid something major, like a chimney fire, then we’d say they’re well worth it.
Chimneys that are inspected annually may also reveal problems with the bricks or hearth, both of which must be kept in a functional state for safety reasons or risk costly repairs over time.
So yes! Investing in regular fireplace and chimney inspections can go a long way in saving you money in the future by avoiding costly repairs, as well as protecting your family from harm and from any potential fires.
Invest in regular fireplace & chimney inspections to:
Protect your home & family
Do Fireplace & Chimney Inspections Improve the Air Quality of a Home?
Nowadays, it seems we’re indoors more than ever, with so many work-from-home opportunities now available – which means monitoring your indoor air quality is important. And getting a regular fireplace and chimney inspection is an effective way to improve air quality in the home and keep it safer.
During the inspection, a certified technician will look for any issues such as blockages preventing the airflow, damaged liners, or other debris that can mix into your air and reduce its quality.
Making sure these systems are working properly also ensures that your ventilation is in good condition, so that stale air can be replaced with fresh outside air, no problem – and that combustion byproducts are being effectively funneled outside, reducing the risk of fire hazards and noxious fumes.
So, long story short… Investing in regular fireplace and chimney inspections will not only keep you and your family safer, but it improves the air quality of your home too.
Do Regular Fireplace & Chimney Inspections Protect the Structure of My Chimney System?
Yes, in fact, fireplace and chimney inspections are an extremely important step to protecting your chimney structure – and the rest of your home too.
Having your chimney regularly inspected by an expert creates the opportunity to address any existing or potential problems, as well as identify the kinds of repairs that may need to be done. Issues spotted during these inspections are typically due to poor workmanship, venting problems, blockage from debris, roofing issues, creosote buildup, and loose bricks or mortar joints.
Professional inspection services should be done by a CSIA- certified chimney technician and include sweeping the interior of both your fireplace and the connected flue and smoke chamber, as well as an exterior visual inspection. With regular inspections, homeowners can catch these issues quickly and take steps to make necessary repairs before more serious problems arise. When you trust us, everything will be covered.
Schedule a Chimney or Fireplace Inspection Today
What Are the Levels of a Chimney Inspection?
Depending on the condition and age of your chimney, there are three levels of inspection recommended by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
A level 1 inspection is the most basic and involves visually examining readily accessible portions of a chimney to determine if any immediate repairs are needed. Level 2 overviews are more thorough, may require certain special tools for opening doors and panels, and typically occur if anything unexpected or potentially dangerous is found during a level 1 inspection – or if the chimney has not been inspected in over 12 months.
Lastly, if any damage has occurred to the structure or appliance connected to the chimney, then a level 3 chimney inspection might be necessary to ensure all proper protocols were adhered to in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
It’s always best to consult an industry expert when determining which type of chimney inspection you need – we’d be happy to guide you on this process and answer any questions along the way.
Looking for more specifics? We’ve got you covered.
What is a level 1 chimney & fireplace inspection?
- A level 1 chimney & fireplace inspection is designed to identify any potential issues associated with the chimney or fireplace, such as a blocked flue, obstructions, excessive creosote buildup, and loose or cracked components.
- As part of the inspection, the technician also checks that all components are working properly and as intended.
- Typically, this procedure involves inspecting both the inside and outside of the chimney and fireplace area.
By not having a thorough level 1 inspection completed on an annual basis, homeowners run the risk of having a major safety hazard lurking in their homes without them realizing it. Therefore, it’s recommended that homeowners have their chimney and fireplace inspected professionally before the start of every burning season.
What is a level 2 chimney & fireplace inspection?
- A level 2 chimney & fireplace inspection is a thorough examination of the flue and chimney system.
- This in-depth process requires a visual inspection of both the interior and exterior components of the chimney structure, as well as using special tools to look for any potential obstructions and deficiencies.
- Technicians will use internal cameras to explore parts of the chimney inaccessible from the outside, such as looking for creosote buildup or hidden damages.
These inspections are highly recommended and are the standard here at Winston’s Chimney Service. We recommend them for any and all properties where an existing problem with the flue or chimney system could be hidden from visual sight. If your chimney has not been checked in some time, like well over a year, or if you’re buying or selling a home, we would recommend booking one of these.
With the appropriate measures taken after the inspection, such as repairs or preventive maintenance, you can protect your family from potential hazards like carbon monoxide poisoning and reduce additional long-term costs.
What is a level 3 chimney & fireplace inspection?
- A level 3 chimney & fireplace inspection is a much more detailed and comprehensive investigation of a chimney and/or fireplace by a professional chimney technician.
- These are normally completed after a catastrophic event, such as a chimney fire or natural disaster.
- The tech will look at both the interior and exterior components of the system to determine the extent of required repairs, renovations, and restorations necessary.
- Level 3 inspections can go so far as to disassemble parts of a chimney system if the sudden event calls for it.
This comprehensive assessment includes more than what is performed in a level 1 or 2 inspection, such as evaluating existing installation material, taking measurements to verify chimney sizes, identifying areas that require repairs or replacement parts, and confirming connections of flue and venting systems. Additionally, there are times when tooling inserted through cleanouts and roof penetrations has to be done for an even deeper examination.
Most of the time, when a Level 3 inspection is done it’s because you have a reason beyond the normal wear and tear of a system to get your property thoroughly checked for any potential issue that could cause further deterioration or damage, so you can start making needed remediation or rebuild plans.
Can I Perform a Proper Chimney Inspection Myself?
Now, yearly inspections are clearly a must, but they can feel like a repetitive and bothersome investment sometimes – especially if you’re on a budget.
Although it can be tempting to perform the inspection yourself in an attempt to save money, this is not a recommended practice. Even with proper tools, navigating the tight vertical shafts and the small opening of a chimney and flue can be dangerous for anybody who hasn’t been trained to do so.
Furthermore, you may end up overlooking an issue or accidentally causing additional issues, which could lead to big repair fees – and costing you more overall.
All in all, it’s best to call a certified chimney specialist and have them handle this task since they have the tools and training to effectively diagnose any potential problems – and stop more serious ones before they cause long-term damage to your home or wallet.
Can a Chimney Technician Fix Any Problems They Find During the Inspection?
Well, our technicians certainly can!
A qualified chimney technician, like the crew members here at Winston’s, will have the knowledge and expertise to repair any issues they may find while inspecting a chimney.
Depending on the issue, they may be able to repair it on-site or advise that certain elements need further attention later on. Generally speaking, many repairs are simple fixes such as having a cleaning completed, replacing seals in dampers, or resealing crumbling masonry.
Larger concerns, such as preventing dangerous gases from entering a home, can be addressed by assessing venting systems, flue liners, or chimney caps. Ultimately, the technician will recommend any necessary repairs and explain how they should be conducted in order to ensure consumer safety at all times.
Is It Still Necessary To Have My Fireplace Inspected if I Don’t Use It Often?
Fireplaces, whether used occasionally or not, should always be inspected every single year by a qualified professional. Why? Because you want it to work safely and efficiently when you do eventually put it to use – despite how often that is.
In addition, even a chimney that’s not used can invite risks, such as structural damage or poor air quality. If your chimney is crumbling and continues to break down, it could eventually collapse, which would cause damage in various parts of your home. And if creosote or animals are in your flue, both of these things can affect the air quality of the space as well as invite odors.
In addition to booking inspections and sweepings, it’s essential that you also trim your tree branches regularly, to avoid falling leaves entering your flue. Not only can they block off the exhaust, but they can also cause clogs in your flue. With regular maintenance and inspections, though, any issues can be spotted early – preventing big costly fixes down the line.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Schedule Chimney & Fireplace Inspections?
We prefer to do inspections in the spring and summer, so that there is ample time to do any repairs well before the burning season officially begins – after which, repairs may be more challenging to complete.
Regardless, though, regular inspections are vital and will help keep your family from the risks of smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning, house fires, poor air quality, animal and water intrusion, and more. So, what’s most important is getting yours booked before lighting any fires – even if we’re well into the fall or winter season.
Book With Our Team Today
We guarantee the highest level of care possible, and when you hire us to complete your inspection, you can rest easier knowing that job will be done right and that no areas will be missed or overlooked. So don’t wait to get this essential service scheduled – call us today or contact us online to get the ball rolling.
We can’t wait to wow you with our quality skills and high level of customer service.