Chimney Inspections in Portland, Oregon

We Offer Comprehensive Chimney Inspections with Video

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) — the organization that developed the standard by which professional chimney technicians conduct inspections — recommends that chimney systems, including fireplaces and vents, be inspected each and every year. That’s a general rule of thumb — and a good way to ensure that you’re staying on top of how well (or how poorly) your chimney system is performing.

Who Should Perform A Chimney Inspection?

It’s important that the technician inspecting your chimney system knows what to look for and provides a thorough and detailed assessment. Unfortunately, not all chimney inspections are created equal — to ensure that you’re getting an accurate assessment of your chimney’s condition, have your chimney system inspected by a CSIA certified chimney sweep.

Where Can I Find A CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep in Portland?

Right here! At American Chimney & Masonry in Portland, Oregon, all of our chimney sweeps are CSIA-certified and follow the NFPA’s chimney inspection procedures each and every time.

What is a Chimney Inspection?

A level 1 Chimney inspection is a pretty typical chimney inspection, in which the technician takes a look at all easily- accessible areas of the chimney and appliance. The chimney sweep technician will also check the flue for any obstructions. This level of inspection is pretty standard and is always included with an American Chimney & Masonry chimney sweeping. A level 1 may be fine for your yearly inspection – as long as nothing has changed in your system or its use (although if you’ve replaced an appliance with a similar one, a level 1 inspection may still be sufficient).

A level 2 Chimney inspection is a bit more involved and includes everything in a level 1 plus an inspection of:

  • all accessible:attic spaces, basements and crawl spaces
  • parts of the chimney’s exterior and interior
  • parts of the appliance
  • areas of the chimney connection

During a level 2 chimney inspection, we’ll also use a video scanner to evaluate the condition and appropriateness of the flue liner, from top to bottom. Finally, we’ll check for proper clearance from combustibles (where possible) and proper construction and design. Typically, level 2 chimney inspections are recommended when a chimney system is experiencing problems, or some sort of change is being made/has been made (for example: a change in appliances, fuel types, or liners; real estate transactions; or if a sudden occurrence or other damaging event may have affected your system – like a lightning strike).

A level 3 Chimney inspection is only recommended when a level 1 or level 2 chimney inspection simply won’t cut it. During a level 3 inspection, the chimney sweep technician may have to remove things like siding and walls in order to have an accurate assessment of the chimney system’s condition.

How Do I Know Which Chimney Inspection I Need?

The NFPA’s set procedures for the 3 different levels of chimney inspection are designed to cover all circumstances. Be sure and inform us of any potential areas of concern within your system so that we can recommend the most appropriate inspection. Our technicians will help you decide which level is best, based on your individual situation and needs.

How Many Chimney Inspections Should I Schedule A Year?

Every fireplace, chimney and vent should be inspected at least once a year. If your system gets year-round use, you may require more frequent inspections. Additionally, a chimney inspection should be conducted before buying a home, before making any changes or repairs, and after any sudden occurrence.

What Does A Video Chimney Inspection Entail?

With video scan technology, we are able to see parts of your flue that would otherwise be essentially unreachable. When we conduct a video scan of your chimney, we lower the camera down into the chimney (or push it up into the chimney) and view the footage in real time (with you, if you’d like) on a TV monitor. The great thing about video scan is that it allows us to view the length of the flue up close and without any destruction.

What are the other advantages of a chimney video inspection?

Not only can a video scan discover damage from a chimney fire, but it can be used to investigate the cause of the fire. These video scans may reveal poor construction or repair work as well as birds, squirrels, and other wild animals living in your chimney. In addition to the video scan, you will also receive a written evaluation of the condition of the interior of your chimney, along with photographs of any damage found. If your chimney system has undergone a sudden occurrence (like a fire or a lightning strike); you are buying or selling a property with an existing chimney; or you simply need to schedule an annual inspection, give American Chimney & Masonry a call.

Summertime Inspection of Your Chimney Liner

Chimney Flue Liner Repairs To Look for Before Winter

Many homeowners realize that they need to have their chimneys cleaned each year but they may not give much thought to their flue liners. A chimney flue liner is essential to a well functioning chimney because it protects the interior of the chimney from various types of damage. Although they typically last for years, there are many situations in which they may need repairs that are essential before use of the fireplace when temperatures drop.

These days, a chimney flue liner is mandatory in all Oregon homes. However, prior to the 1940’s, it was not necessary to have a liner in a chimney. Homeowners living in homes that were built in Portland prior to this time should have an inspection to make sure there is a liner in place if they have not done so already. If there is no liner in the chimney, it is not safe to use it again until one has been properly installed.

See Problems Due To An Unlined Chimney

Many Portland, Oregon homes have clay flue liners because they last for up to fifty years. However, even clay liners will develop regular wear and tear after a number of years. This may include cracks in the liner or the liner may begin to flake away. In some cases, this can be repaired fairly simply. However, in other situations, homeowners will need to decide that if it is best to replace their clay liner with a metal one. Although they are also very durable, metal liners have their own issues after a period of time. In particular, people run into trouble when the liners are not made out of the proper type of alloy. If this is the case, the combustion gasses that are often found after a chimney fire can corrode it. This can lead to leaks, which will eventually compromise the structure of the chimney.

Of course, there can be problems with the flue liner if it is not properly installed in the first place. One of the most common errors in installation is that it is not sealed properly. This will lead to leaks, which can cause water damage to the chimney. In addition, it can allow the growth of mold, which can pose a health risk for everyone in the home. For this reason, it is necessary to have a licensed professional install the liner.

The best way to know whether or not the chimney flue liner needs repairs is to have a professional conduct an annual inspection. A trained Portland chimney sweep will be able to get a good look into the chimney and identify any potential problems with the liner before they become major issues. There are early signs of chimney flue liner damage that would not be apparent to the untrained eye. It is best to have the inspection done each year before using the fireplace for the winter. Even though safety should be the biggest concern, heating efficiency and structural integrity is also paramount.

Although many people do not even realize that their chimney flue has a liner, it is an essential part of a safely functioning chimney and fireplace. They are durable structures that can last for decades but that does not mean they are not vulnerable to normal wear and tear. An annual chimney inspection is the best way to make sure that there are no pending issues that put the chimney at risk. It is important to make sure that the liner fits properly and is installed correctly to avoid any further issues.

Portland Chimney Repair – Service Area

Located right here in Portland, Oregon, our chimney sweep technicians provide the best in chimney services, fireplace installation and chimney inspections in the Portland-Metro area. From NE Portland down to SE Portland, Tualatin and Oregon City in the south, from Pleasant Valley in the east to Beaverton and Sherwood in the west – when it comes to your chimney, fireplace and vents, we hope you’ll call American Chimney & Masonry! We are the most trusted Portland Chimney Repair company!

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Chimney Sweep Portland, Oregon