Video Scanning – When and Why?
As much as I would like to promote a new service we offer, I would also like to shed some light on when and why proper video scanning should be performed for those interested.
Video scanning involves using a camera unit and usually some sort of digital imaging technology to examine the interior of the chimney flue. A small camera is pushed up inside the flue and moved the entire length to check the integrity of each seam. It is really the only way to be sure your chimney is serviceable and free of cracks or gaps in the liner. The images are fed back to a viewing screen and are often recorded, and in our case these images are then used in a formal report which is prepared for the homeowner, buyer, or seller.
A video scan is performed during an NFPA Level 2 inspection which are performed for a variety of reasons including change out of an appliance, real estate sale, troubleshooting, or if there has ever been a fire in the flue. The flue must be cleaned first as any normal preseason service and check, and then the video unit is fed through the system. Because of the extra time involved in both the on site work and the report writing afterward costs do run roughly double a standard clean and check but are more than justified by having seen every inch of the flue.
Here is a tip for homebuyers: Have a proper Level 2 inspection performed. The scan of the flue in your potential house could reveal issues even in systems which a regular home inspector did not see. (Cracks and gaps which are often hard to see from the ends of the chimney, holes, old thimbles, PLUMBING VENTS.) Knowing about these issues gives you more bargaining power.
Sometimes problems are easy to spot, but sometimes they’re not which is where proper scanning comes in. Bottom line, it’s the best way to get the most information about your flue and very well worth the cost.