The Importance of a Chimney Inspection

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, an inspection will give you peace of mind. It will reveal if there is water damage, which can compromise the chimney structure and the flue.


During a Level 2 chimney inspection, the technician will use video scanning equipment to examine parts of the fireplace interior and exterior that aren’t readily accessible. This can include attics, basements, or crawl spaces. Visit for more information.

While you can do a pretty good job of examining the outside of your chimney, there are certain areas that cannot be seen without special tools and equipment. A regular inspection by a chimney sweep can prevent problems before they become serious and save you a lot of money in repairs. Besides the obvious safety issues that arise from a damaged chimney, a faulty one can allow smoke, heat, and other dangerous toxins to back up into your home.

This is why it is important to book your annual chimney inspection. A trained and certified CSIA chimney technician can identify problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. These are things like loose masonry, cracks in the chimney wall, clogged flues and other things that could lead to chimney fires, water damage or other issues that are costly to repair.

During a level 1 inspection, your chimney service technician will examine the readily accessible portions of the exterior, interior and accessable portions of any appliances in the system, and the chimney connection. The chimney structure will be surveyed to verify its soundness and the flue will be inspected to ensure it is free of obstructions and combustible deposits. Generally speaking, this is the most thorough examination that can be done.

The chimney is visually inspected for signs of deterioration, and the flue will be scanned with a video camera to ensure that it is clear of creosote accumulation and void of obstructions that could block air flow. This is also the point at which a chimney professional will recommend or perform any necessary chimney repairs.

A yearly chimney inspection is essential for the health and safety of your family, your pets, and guests. A dirty chimney is prone to drafting issues, and debris such as twigs, leaves and small animals can get into your chimney and cause serious damage. In addition, a chimney that is not properly capped and protected can leak water and toxins into the house, which can cause structural damage and health issues.

A level 2 chimney inspection is a more in-depth assessment than a level 1. It involves the use of specialized tools to reach concealed parts of your chimney or flue. This type of inspection is required after any changes to the fireplace, appliance or flue (such as a change in fuel type), when a new lining has been installed, and after an external event that may have damaged the chimney (like a building fire or earthquake).

A Level 2 inspection is more in-depth than a basic chimney sweep cleaning. During this more detailed inspection, a chimney technician will examine the flue, smoke chamber and the lining. A chimney liner is the passageway through which smoke and combustion gases travel to the outside, it helps protect the masonry and it keeps creosote from building up inside. If it becomes damaged, a flue liner may allow smoke to seep into the home and dangerous carbon monoxide to accumulate.

The smoke chamber is where the fire mingles with hot gases to raise them up into the flue on a draft, but without a proper lining or a sturdily built chimney, this process could send the smoke back into the fireplace and into the home. The smoke chamber and chimney crown are also examined for water damage, cracks or deterioration. The crown is the cement border that surrounds the opening of the flue, it directs rainwater away from the masonry and prevents moisture from damaging the chimney.

Creosote is a byproduct of the burning of wood, it is highly flammable and can lead to chimney fires. If it buildup in the chimney, it can also clog and block the flue, causing smoke and heat to escape. A professional chimney sweep can remove the creosote from the chimney to help prevent these problems.

Most homeowners are aware of the importance of having a regular chimney sweep, but most people don’t realize that there are different levels of chimney inspections. A Level 1 chimney inspection is the minimum required for a home that hasn’t had an inspection in awhile and nothing has changed. It is recommended that a Level 2 inspection be done before the sale of a home or after a major change to the appliance or venting system.

A Level 3 chimney inspection is required when a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection indicates a hidden hazard. This more extensive evaluation requires the use of special equipment to access concealed areas of the chimney and flue, and may require dismantling or destruction of a portion of the chimney structure.

Chimneys are designed to allow smoke and gases to exit your home through the flue. However, if your chimney is damaged, it may not be functioning properly and could cause fires, carbon monoxide poisoning or other dangerous situations. A professional inspection will assess the condition of your fireplace and chimney. The level of inspection will be determined by the type of work that is needed to repair the chimney system.

During the winter, snow and rain can wreak havoc on your chimney structure and components. Checking for damage and ensuring everything is in good working order will help prevent costly repairs later on. Adding a spring chimney checklist is an excellent way to ensure your fireplace and chimney are ready for use when you want to light the fire.

Chimneys that are not regularly inspected and cleaned will deteriorate faster than chimneys that receive regular attention. Over time, creosote build-up can deteriorate the mortar and brick and lead to leaks in the chimney or flue liner. In addition, a faulty or missing chimney cap allows moisture and small animals to enter the chimney and cause problems that can increase the risk of chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

The NFPA recommends annual chimney and fireplace inspections for homes that continuously use the fireplace. The Level 1 chimney inspection is an easy to perform inspection that checks the readily accessible portions of the fireplace, chimney, chimney connectors and flue. A Level 1 inspection will not include a visual inspection using a camera or other scanning devices.

The Level 2 inspection is more comprehensive than the Level 1 inspection and includes a video scan of the chimney interior. This inspection will also include a thorough visual inspection of the flue and fireplace. In addition, a technician will evaluate the attic area and crawl spaces for signs of damage to the chimney. The Level 2 inspection does not require the removal of permanent parts of the home such as doors, panels or coverings and does not involve special tools.

Examine the flashing, a thin metal strip that attaches the chimney to the roof line, for rust or deterioration. Look in the attic for stains on the rafters or ceilings, evidence of a leaking chimney. The cricket, a tent-like flashing that extends down from the chimney to the uphill side of the roof, should be free of rust or other damage and sealed with a high-quality butyl, silicone rubber or polyurethane sealant. The chimney cap should have an expansion joint to allow the flue liner to expand and contract without damaging the masonry.

When it comes to the chimney system, there are a variety of things that can go wrong. These problems can range from minor to severe, and they can also impact your home’s safety and overall performance. Chimney inspections help to identify issues early on, so they can be addressed and repaired before the problem worsens. Ultimately, these chimney inspections can save you money by helping you avoid more costly repairs and keep your fireplace and flue functioning safely.

The Level 1 inspection is the most basic option and it includes a visual examination of all readily accessible parts of your chimney and fireplace. This includes the masonry, chimney cap, bricks, and flashing. It also includes a thorough examination of the flue to make sure that it is efficient, structurally sound, and free of obstructions.

A Level 2 inspection is a little more involved and it usually involves a video scanning of the interior of the chimney. This will help to locate any areas of damage that cannot be seen through a regular visual examination. This can include any significant damage to the chimney structure, such as cracks in the masonry. This level of inspection can also be required if any changes have been made to the fireplace or chimney system. These changes could include a change in the fuel type, a change to the shape and material of the flue, or the addition of an appliance with a different input rating or efficiency level.

During a Level 3 inspection, a CSIA certified chimney sweep will use more extensive tools to remove portions of the chimney walls and coverings in order to thoroughly examine them for serious hazard and hidden problems. This type of inspection is often required if an accident occurs, such as chimney fire or earthquake. Unless this inspection is done, the insurance company may deny any claims.

Having a professional chimney inspection on a yearly basis is a great way to protect your home and family. Even if you think that your chimney is in good condition, it is recommended that you get a Level 1 or a Level 2 inspection at least once every year. These inspections will prevent chimney deterioration, allowing you to enjoy your fireplace for years to come.