Benefits of Hi-Def Video Camera Inspection
Having your chimney swept and evaluated using hi-def video technology is key to a safe burning season. Companies who do not use hi-def camera technology are missing out on opportunities to not only simplify customers’ concerns regarding documentation in any possible insurance claims or fire inspections, they give the company an opportunity to provide a well documented case to the homeowner and all other parties involved. A video camera is mounted on a rod and inserted up the chimney so that the homeowner and the chimney sweep professional can each see clearly the condition of their fireplace and flue system after a thorough chimney sweep. As the professional works, he and the homeowner can view the condition of the interior of the chimney on a small monitor, providing assurance for the customer when the professional makes a diagnosis or recommends work for a chimney. Any cracks in the flue system or missing mortar joints can be very risky. These cracks allow the hot products of combustion to reach parts of the chimney not specially formulated to withstand the extreme heat. Gases from combustion can erode away at mortar joints, and moisture that enters the chimney in some way, whether rain, snow, or merely vapors in the air can freeze and cause damage and deterioration to the chimney flue. The technician will be able to pinpoint and document with pictures any of these flue defects for peace of mind for the homeowner and to aid them in documenting any insurance claims they may wish to make.
This photo of a missing mortar joint obtained through hi-def closed cicuit video inspection will help the homeowner file a claim for a reline. A hi-def video inspection not only pinpoints damage in the flue system, it can diagnose chimney fire damage, spot “patch” jobs done by non-professional chimney servicemen, and also indicate the presence of animals or nesting materials which are a fire hazard to the entire home. If the chimney was built improperly outright, using a Go-Pro hi-def video camera will aid in documenting the existing condition so that repair will be easier.
Pro-Vac Chimney Sweeps offers three levels of chimney inspection depending on your specific needs
The requirements of all three levels of chimney inspection have been outlined by the National Fire Protection Association code NFPA211. This code is the standard by which all reputable, chimney service companies do business. Inspection needs will vary depending on the situation. The chimney inspection levels are described below:
Level I or Visual Chimney Inspection
A Level I chimney inspection covers all readily accessible portions of the exterior and interior and the accessible portions of appliance and chimney connections. A Level I inspection does not include a video scan but you can choose to add this option for a more thorough evaluation of fireplace or furnace flue system.
If you are selling your house, or buying a new one the NFPA recommends a Level II inspection. Inspection requirements for purchasing a new home are different for each transaction but it is highly recommended that the chimney be thoroughly inspected to avoid costly repairs later. Most home inspectors do not have the expertise to evaluate the condition of the chimney. A Level II inspection covers all accessible portions of the chimney interior and exterior including areas within accessible attics, crawl spaces, and basements and includes inspection by video scanning.
There is one more level of inspection and that is a Level III. Hopefully you will never need this degree of inspection because it is designed to uncover structural damage or problems in concealed areas of the chimney. A Level III inspection is usually called for if there is damage to your home because of a chimney fire or severe storm, this includes lightning damage, wind damage and earthquakes. If we can't determine the safety of the system by doing a Level I or Level II inspection then a Level III will be recommended.