Fireplace & Chimney
Ridley & Partners, Inc. presently performs limited visual fireplace and chimney inspections in accordance with Chapter Twelve (12) of the Standard of Practice (SOP) of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). This limited visual fire place and chimney inspection entails the following inspection protocols:
- Fuel-burning fireplaces, stoves, and fireplace inserts
- Fuel-burning accessories installed in fireplaces
- Chimneys and vent systems
- Description of the systems and components
- Interior of vents systems, flues, and chimneys that are not readily accessible
- Fire screens and doors
- Seals and gaskets
- Automatic fuel feed devices
- Mantels and fireplace surrounds
- Combustion air components and to determine their adequacy
- Heat distribution assists (gravity fed and fan assisted)
- Fuel-burning fireplaces and appliances located outside the inspected structures
- Determination of draft characteristics
- Move fireplace inserts and stoves or firebox contents
The requirements associated with the design, installation, maintenance, and inspection of chimneys, fireplaces, venting systems, and solid fuel-burning appliances in residential, commercial and industrial occupancies is generally government by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These requirements are generally listed within NFPA 211. These requirements from a construction standpoint are also paralleled in the International Residential Building Code which has been adopted by The State of Alabama.
The NFPA 211 provides guidance on the following three (3) levels of chimney inspection:
- Level 1 - A Level 1 inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same appliance. In a Level 1 inspection, your chimney service technician should examine the readily accessible portion of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. This type of inspection is intended to inspect the basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections. This inspection is also intended to verify that the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.
- Level 2 - A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape of, or material in, the flue, or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency. Additionally, a Level 2 inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operation malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events as well as weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted. A Level 2 inspection is a more in-depth inspection that a Level 1 Inspection. When a level or Level 2 inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without special tools to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue, a Level 3 inspection is recommended. A Level 3 inspection addresses the proper construction and the condition of concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Removal or destruction, as necessary, of permanently attached portion of the chimney or building structure will be required for the completion of a Level 3 inspection. A level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl space and basements. It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations. There are no specialty tools required to open doors, panels or coverings in performing a Level 2 inspection. A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means in order to examine the internal surface and joins of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. Nor removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required by a Level 2 inspection.
- Level 3 - A Level 3 inspection includes all the areas and items checked in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary. Removal of components shall be required when necessary to gain access to areas that are the subject of the inspection. When serious hazards are suspected, A Level 2 inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.
Additionally, NFPA 211 states that Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.
Alabama is a Caveat Emptor ("let the buyer beware") state in terms of real estate transactions. At the current time The State of Alabama has not legislated the use of NFPA 211 as a building code. Additionally, at the current time The State of Alabama has not legislated the use of NFPA 211 as a requirement for real estate transactions.
If the real estate that you are considering includes a fuel-burning appliance or associated feature (fire place and chimney) we strongly encourage you at a minimum to have a NFPA 211 Level 2 inspection performed in addition to a standard home inspection. The Level 2 inspection will generally consist of a video inspection of the chimney and will determine if the chimney is in need of sweeping and if the chimney is overall safe for use. A standard residential home inspection does not include a video inspection of the chimney and as such is not the same standard of inspection.
We do not presently provide chimney sweep related professional services; however, given sufficiently advanced notice we can arrange for these types of services to be performed by a licensed professional at the same general time that the standard home inspection is performed. The performance of this type of inspection should be discussed in advanced with your real estate professional and in turn with the property owner so that all parties are aware that the inspection will take place.
Additional information is available by viewing our FAQ, Links, and Information Page accessible, from the menu, on the left-hand side of this page or by utilizing the following hyper-link: FAQ .
It should be noted that the fastest way, to obtain a quote, for services is to complete the inspection scheduling process. This process does not commit you to services; but, it does allow us to collect important information which is utilized to provide an accurate service quote. Our service rates are competitive and within industry norms. The scheduling process can be started by following the home icon links throughout our site or by utilizing the following hyper-link: Quote.
If after reviewing our web-site you would like more information about a specific offering we would be glad to speak with you. You can reach us through our contact forms which are accessible, from the main menu, at the top of this page, you can Email us at email@example.com, or you can call us at 1-205-746-7567.