When preparing for colder seasons, it is natural to want to utilize your fireplace for warmth and the aesthetic a fire can bring into your home. The popping of the wood, the flickering flames, and the smell of the wood filling your home can really set the ambiance of the holiday season as the wintry weather sets in. However, fireplaces can also hold a very real danger. The safety of your home and family could depend on a professional chimney scope finding an issue and recommending a repair before you build your first fire of the season.

An average of 25,000 chimney fires happen annually. These fires are caused by not properly maintaining your chimney flue. A chimney scope is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association annually before any fires are lit. Once this inspection has been completed, a chimney sweep can make the proper repairs to the flue that allow for safe burning. RHI can complete your chimney scope with your home inspection for a bundled price.

During our standard home inspection, RHI will complete a visual inspection of the exterior chimney and visible fireplace. With the addition of a chimney scope, your inspector will perform a more detailed inspection of your chimney. The inspector will utilize our 360-degree camera to get a detailed look inside your chimney.

Your RHI inspector will examine the readily accessible portions of your chimney with a specialized camera to confirm that the integrity of the structure is sound. The inspector also confirms that the chimney components are all working properly. We check for excessive soot buildup, cracks in the liner, missing mortar, possible fire damage, and vermin activity. If you plan to use your chimney regularly during the colder months, we highly recommend this service.

During a chimney scope, inspectors might find several issues. The first thing an inspector might encounter is a heavy creosote buildup. Creosote is the substance left behind when burning wood in a chimney. This substance is highly flammable and should be cleaned regularly. Another common find is debris. Often, the chimney will be buildup with leaves and other organic materials.

Inspectors have also found several types of animals. We have found racoons, squirrels, birds, and bats. These animals will build nests and hang out until they are forced out with smoke. Some can’t get out fast enough and will perish. Cracks in flue liner or missing mortar at joints is a common find as well. With the drastic temperature changes in the chimney, the expansion and contraction can cause the liner or mortar between to break off, leaving gaps. These gaps will allow debris, smoke, and fire between these openings and into your outer chimney.

Fireplaces can be a festive and comforting addition to the holidays. However, proper maintenance and inspections are critical to the safety of your home and family. Chimneys should be assessed every year before a fire is lit. The last thing anyone needs is a chimney fire or losing their home right before the holidays. Educate yourself if your home includes a fireplace, and you, your family, and guests will be able to enjoy it for years to come.