According to the National Fire Protection Association, seven percent of residential fires were caused by fireplaces and chimneys between 2016 and 2020. Additionally, chimney fires were responsible for over $200 million in property damage.

Chimney fires are often a result from the accumulation of creosote, a byproduct of burning wood. This sticky substance is, oftentimes, undetected and, because of its elusiveness, can lead to a catastrophic fire.

Creosote build-up can still result is costly repairs, even without the existence of a fire. If a fire does break out, you could lose your home.

The average chimney service costs about $250 – depending on the level of inspection required. Although this may be a costly service, not using this kind of service could result in an even more costly mistake.

Hiring a professional to do a thorough inspection is a good idea. They will be able to take accurate measurements of critical components i.e. the size of the firebox and the clearance from a wood stove. Once that is completed, a certified inspector will then recommend whether or not your chimney needs sweeping and which type is best for your specific needs.

Level One Inspection

If you regularly maintain your chimney, a level one inspection may be sufficient enough. During this procedure, a professional will:

Measure all readily accessible components.

Determine if your chimney needs sweeping based on factors such as debris blocking air ducts and creosote buildup.

Level Two Inspection

If you’re a new homeowner or have never had a level one inspection, the additional detail in a level-two inspection may provide more peace of mind.  A level two inspection would include:

  • Inspection of accessible areas of attics, basements and crawl spaces
  • Inspection of accessible areas of the chimney exterior and interior
  • Inspection of accessible portions of any appliance and chimney connection(s)
  • Video scanning, or other thorough inspection, of the flue interior
  • Evaluation of the flue lining to determine if the material & sizing is appropriate

Level Three Inspection

A level three inspection is the most extensive of inspections and is the one that you are least likely to need unless your chimney is severely damaged.

This type of inspection is needed when a level one or level two inspection have already given you indications that there are hidden problems within your chimney or that special tools may be needed to access concealed areas. A level three inspection may also include the need for tearing out building materials to reach potential problem areas.

Make sure that you find a professional with the Certified Chimney Sweep Credential (CSIA). This will ensure that the person completing the task will have a keen understanding of tools, techniques, and processes needed for a thorough chimney inspection.