Our Company Blog

The Three Levels of Chimney Inspections

Three Levels of Chimney Inspection - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney SweepsTo become Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps, our chimney technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps must pass an examination on the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) standard code 211, the standard for chimneys, fireplaces, vents, and solid fuel burning appliances. In this code, the NFPA developed three different levels of chimney inspections that all chimney sweep certified by the CSIA must strictly follow. Since the CSIA recommends an annual chimney sweeping and inspection, the organization also strongly suggests you should ask for the appropriate level of inspection for your chimney and venting system. To inform you of what each level involves to help you know which level to request, we would like to share with you an explanation of what happens during each chimney inspection level.

LEVEL 1

The simplest of the three levels of chimney inspection, ask for a Level 1 if your appliance or venting system have not changed and you are planning on using it as you normally have in the past. In this level of inspection, Weststar Chimney Sweeps will inspect all readily accessible parts of your chimney’s exterior and interior and all accessible parts of your chimney’s connection to the appliance. Checking for the soundness of structure and proper installation, our chimney inspectors will also verify your chimney is free from blockages and combustible creosote deposits.

LEVEL 2

Required when any change is made to your system, a Level 2 inspection examines changes in fuel type, changes to the size and shape of your flue, and changes to the heating appliance, such as when you have a fireplace insert installed. You must also request a Level 2 if you are selling or transferring your home and after building fires, chimney fires, earthquakes and tremors, and any weather-related event. Including everything performed in a Level 1 inspection, a Level 2 also examines the accessible parts to your chimney’s exterior and interior, including attics, crawl spaces, and basements. This level of inspection also addresses clearance from combustibles.

LEVEL 3 

If a Level 1 or 2 inspection reveals a hidden hazard that cannot be evaluated without special tools to access concealed areas of your chimney or flue, Weststar Chimney Sweeps will recommend a Level 3 inspection, which is the most detailed of the three levels of inspection. When necessary, certain parts of the chimney must be removed for the evaluation to be complete. Parts that may be removed include the chimney crown or an interior wall of the chimney. This is only required when access is needed to areas that are subject to the inspection. Also, during a Level 1 or 2 inspection, if our chimney inspectors feel a serious hazard is present within your chimney or venting system, a Level 3 inspection may be required to examine the entire chimney or venting system.

Have questions about the three levels of chimney inspection? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to find out more about each level.

By Mike O'Mara on November 25th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

The thought of the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning happening in your home is very frightening; however, neglecting regular chimney maintenance can result in carbon monoxide leaking into your home without you even knowing it. Odorless, tasteless, and invisible, this toxic gas can become trapped within your house. If you do not have a carbon monoxide alarm installed to alert you of this danger, you and your family could get very sick or even die from continuously inhaling this poisonous gas. Another way to be safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning is to schedule an annual chimney sweeping and inspection from Weststar Chimney Sweeps. This step can stop this gas from entering your home in the first place. We would like to inform you about these dangers so that you can best protect yourself and your family.

CO Toxicity - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney

How Does Carbon Monoxide Affect My Body?

When you breathe in carbon monoxide, the poisonous gas enters your bloodstream and how your blood treats this gas is the true danger. Hemoglobin, a protein in your blood, will always choose to pick up and carry the carbon monoxide and to ignore oxygen. Of course, we need oxygen flowing through our blood to keep our cells from suffocating. The amount of damage caused depends on how long and intense you are exposed to inhaling carbon monoxide, which makes detecting and preventing its presence so crucial.

How Common Are Deaths and Illnesses Due to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), at least 200 people in the U.S. are killed every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by venting problems in their heating appliance systems. Approximately 10,000 cases of sickness related to carbon monoxide are recorded in hospitals each year as well.

What are the Side-Effects and Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Side-effects of low-level exposure can include permanent brain and other organ damage. Unfortunately, the symptoms of low-level poisoning are very similar to those of the common cold: headache, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. This can cause many misdiagnoses of carbon monoxide poisoning, which prolongs the exposure. If these symptoms do not go away, be persistent with your doctor and ask for a blood test to check for levels of this toxic gas. The sooner high levels are found, the sooner life-saving treatment can begin. High-level exposure to carbon monoxide can cause death.

How Does This Gas Come Into My House?

Poor ventilation is the primary cause of carbon monoxide coming into your home; however, the factors behind the venting problems include a damaged or missing chimney flue liner, large deposits of creosote, debris clogging the passageway, and nesting from birds or other animals blocking the flue.

How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide from Entering My Home?

All of the factors behind chimney venting problems can be corrected with an annual chimney sweeping and inspection from Weststar Chimney Sweeps. With cases of carbon monoxide-related health issues on the rise, our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps are extra careful to clean out any blockages, check flue liners for cracks and gaps, and replace a deteriorated chimney liner to protect you from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you have not scheduled your annual chimney sweeping and inspection this year, contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today. Our staff will arrange a chimney sweep visit to your home as soon as possible to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your house.

By Mike O'Mara on November 15th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment