Commercial Chimney Inspections: There’s a Lot Riding on Them
The properties under your management might carry a sense of history or be fairly new. In either case, they need maintenance to operate efficiently, safely and provide a quality tenant experience. Chimneys also need professional service – they’re never a “set it and forget it” feature regardless of their age and condition.
There were approximately 66,800 structure fires in the U.S. from fireplaces, chimneys, and chimney connectors in the years between 2012 and 2014 (source: Chimney Safety Institute of America). Careful commercial chimney inspections and sweepings could no doubt have reduced this number.
That’s why Fresh Sweeps’ inspections are such a core part of our service menu. We want to make sure we’re getting the most and best information about your properties’ heating systems. Whether we’re inspecting a stand-alone chimney or multiple units are involved, this process is a way of getting vital information about an entire commercial project.
Level 1 Inspection to N.F.P.A. Standards* In commercial properties, some or many chimneys may show no evidence of problems. This level of visual inspection is designed to double-check and confirm the chimney system is operating properly. Here, a trained, local Fresh Sweeps technician inspects and evaluates the visible parts of the chimney.
Level 2 Inspection to N.F.P.A. Standards* Regardless of whether a tenant reports a problem with a heating appliance of the chimney system, this level of inspection may well be warranted. By including a full video scan of the flue, both reported and unreported concerns become more obvious. This level is best for a baseline evaluation of any chimney system.
*National Fire Protection Association
The Complexity of Chimney Systems
A chimney system in a commercial property can be complex and intertwined between nearby units. Also, as these heating systems are controlled by tenants, the difference in usage and care can vary dramatically from unit to unit. Scheduling a Fresh Sweeps inspection allows the property owner or manager to identify places where safety and heating efficiency may already be compromised.
This is true whether the heating source is a wood-burning fireplace, a gas-burning fireplace, or a gas or pellet stove. The chimney system must work properly all the way from where the heat is created to and through the roof. At any point in the journey from fresh air to exhaust fumes, there are places where problems frequently can be found.
How a Chimney System Works (Or Doesn’t)
Air is drawn into the combustion chamber where the fuel is ignited. The flame’s level is determined by a number of factors including the damper control. Normally, this damper is above the chamber and leads to the chimney system. In the case of a wood fireplace, a “smoke shelf” is one of the barriers to having exhaust gases return back into the room.
As exhaust travels out and up, a brick or metal-lined flue directs the fumes to a room cap. If the system is well built and properly maintained, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide will not return to the room. If there’s any build up of material including creosote, the flow of exhaust is compromised.
Even as the fumes are drawn up and out of the chimney, the roof cap directs them safely. This is where a damaged or missing cap affects the movement of exhaust air, but that’s not all. A bad cap means water, drafts, and animals can affect the chimney system.
When it comes to understanding the status of your chimney systems, Fresh Sweeps arrives ready to inspect your property with an eye toward proper and safe operation. By implementing a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection, the risk to people and property is reduced even as the comfort, safety, and security of residents improve.
Commercial Property Being Purchased or Sold?
If so, a Level 2 Inspection is likely a necessity and so is servicing. Don’t wait to schedule your Fresh Sweeps appointment – call our friendly Scheduling Center to learn more.