Every homeowner with a gas fireplace understands the need for regular maintenance and inspection of their system, but the importance of the Level 2 inspection is not as well known. Performing these inspections is one of our specialties at Fireplace Services Denver Flame. There are a few questions about the Level 2 that we hear on a regular basis, and since knowledge is power, we’d like to share the answers with you. Let’s dive in!
Why is the inspection called a Level 2?
That’s an industry term used because it goes well beyond the recommended inspection performed on your fireplace annually and requires a higher certification level for the inspector.
What is checked during a Level 2 inspection?
The inspector will check the following items:
- All readily accessible areas of the interior and exterior of the chimney, structure and flue
- The flue size and suitability
- Potential obstructions or combustible deposits in the flue
- The installation of the gas fireplace unit and all accessible connections
- That all combustibles near the unit, flue, etc. have proper clearances
- All accessible areas adjacent to the chimney and unit, including attics, crawlspaces and basements
In some cases, the venting system will be scanned with video equipment.
Why get one?
There are two main reasons scheduling a Level 2 inspection is a smart idea:
First, there’s increased safety. Many of the problems the inspector will check for (such as building materials too close to the equipment, combustibles in the flue, etc.) are fire hazards.
Second, a Level 2 is a must for those buying or selling a home equipped with a gas fireplace. It makes economic sense, and it’s required by code. National Fire Protection Association code calls for a Level 2 inspection any time a gas fireplace is added or replaced, a flue is relined or the property is sold or transferred to a new owner.
I’m buying a home. Why would I need a Level 2 inspection?
Having a Level 2 inspection performed may prevent a costly disaster. When you’re buying a home, a cozy hearth is a great feature. Many families will choose one home over another based solely on the presence of a fireplace. Now imagine that shortly after moving in, you find that there’s a dangerous condition preventing you from using it. Replacing a gas fireplace system will cost $5,000 or more, so you’re either stuck with a large, unexpected cost or stuck with a fireplace you can never use. We’ve seen cases where a homeowner faced spending $20-30,000 for repairs and renovations if they wanted to keep using their fireplace. Talk about frustration!
If the home you’re considering undergoes a Level 2 inspection, you’ll either know what items need to be addressed, or you’ll have a document certifying the system is in good operating condition. That means perfect peace of mind for you.
I’m selling a home. Will a Level 2 inspection help me?
A Level 2 inspection not only gives you peace of mind because you’ll know the condition of your fireplace, it also serves as an outstanding selling point. If you can certify to a buyer that the gas fireplace system is in proper operating condition (and therefore unlikely to cause any financial risk to them), your home is a better buy. We’ll provide a letter of certification which you can give to potential buyers or anyone else who needs to know the system’s condition.
My real estate agent tells me we won’t need a special inspection because a home inspector will check the system. Will that be enough?
Good question! No matter how skilled or attentive they are, home inspectors and contractors simply don’t have the appropriate training needed to certify a fireplace system. As a result they may not even notice (for example) that a gas line connector or thermocouple has been replaced with a similar-looking but unsuitable component. Some of the toughest and most expensive repair jobs we’ve performed have been on fireplaces that a home inspector recently checked off as being in satisfactory condition.
What’s the next step?
Make sure you can be sure. Our founder and senior technician, Buck Marsters, has been trained and certified by Fireplace Investigation Research and Education Services F.I.R.E. to perform the Level 2 Inspection, and can give you peace of mind about your fireplace system. Schedule an inspection today, or get in touch with our office to learn more.