Video Inspection - Level II Video Scan
Thinking about buying a new home? NFPA 211 recommends having a level two inspection performed so that you will know the condition of your chimney system before you buy the home. If something is found inside the chimney that is unsafe, you can take this information to the negotiation table and have it either repaired by the seller or have the total price of the home reduce so that you can have it repaired. After you purchase the home and sign all the papers you will be responsible for any repairs.
A video scan is very crucial to evaluating your chimney system. It will reveal areas inside your chimney system that could possibly be unsafe. These areas cannot be seen just looking down the chimney and would be missed during a routine chimney cleaning and inspection.
Looking up your chimney or looking down your chimney is like standing at the end of a picket fence and looking down the length of the fence roll. The fence looks like a solid piece of wood but when you stand out in front of fence you can see the gaps between the fence posts. You are perpendicular to the fence when you stand in front of it.
The same thing happens when you look down the flue from the top or look up the flue from the bottom. It looks solid and intact, but when you scan the system with a video camera you are perpendicular to the flue walls and can see it from a different angle. This angle will reveal any defects within your system.
Creosote and gas are corrosive and will eventually eat the joints out between the flue liners, also water coming down the chimney system will deteriorate these same joints, this makes your chimney unsafe to use. Also a video scan will find cracks inside the system that would go unnoticed under a regular inspection. Again another unsafe conditions.
If you have ever had a chimney fire there is a good chance that the flue tiles inside of your systems have cracked. This is due to the thermal expansion (sudden change of temperature) that is taking place inside the chimney. Cracked tiles makes your chimney unsafe to use. (NFPA code 211, 13.9)
Some chimneys are still being built the same way they were built 70 years ago or longer. Some builders do not put any material between the flue tiles when there should be something there. Others put concrete between the flue tiles which will deteriorate over time and leave open gaps within your system. Some builders will also put a busted clay flue liner that was delivered to them in the middle of the chimney while they are building it instead of going to all the trouble of getting a new one to replacing it. They figure no one will ever see it. We now have a video system that will pick that up.
You should have your system scanned if you have never had it done so you can have a more accurate evaluation of your system. Without a video scan you are really guessing about the structural integrity of you flue liner or other areas you cannot see under a normal inspection.