The Importance of a Chimney Inspection

A chimney inspection is an important part of maintaining a home. Whether you’re planning to install a new fireplace or re-purpose a chimney, you need to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. There are several types of chimney inspections, each with its unique benefits.

Chimney Sweep

Using a professional chimney inspection can save you a lot of time and money. Not only will it help you avoid a costly chimney repair, but you’ll also be able to negotiate a better price. A professional chimney sweep at will protect your home and ensure no major missed problems. If you’re selling your home, it’s also a good idea to have your chimney and fireplace inspected.

The first type of chimney inspection is a visual one, which looks at the basic structure of the chimney. The technician will check for any obvious damage, obstructions, and combustible materials. Once they’ve found any of these issues, they can go deeper with a professional inspection.

In addition to helping you prevent a dangerous fire, chimney inspections will give you peace of mind. A chimney inspection will also detect a chimney that’s clogged with debris. Leaves, twigs, and other obstructions could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you’re selling your home, you should always have a chimney inspection done before you sign the sale contract. A chimney inspection is the best way to avoid a chimney fire and identify existing weaknesses in your chimney. Purchasing a home without a chimney inspection could lead to a chimney that’s filled with debris and caked with creosote. It could even have hidden damage. Furthermore, homeowners insurance might not cover the cost of future repairs if your chimney is unsafe.

As a homeowner, you should have your chimney checked at least once a year. If you have a new fireplace or a recently built house, a professional should inspect it. Chimneys are subject to corrosion from flu gasses; if the flu liner becomes damaged, the chimney may be unsafe. The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual chimney inspections for home owners.

The cost of a chimney inspection can range from $100 to $1,000, depending on the number of flues and the frequency of use. If you have a single-flue chimney, you can expect to pay around $200. However, if you have a four-flue chimney, you should expect to pay up to $1,000. A level two chimney inspection will evaluate the entire chimney from top to bottom and will include chimney cleaning services. A level three chimney inspection is recommended when there’s structural damage.

A Level One chimney inspection is the bare minimum and will examine the accessible portions of the chimney and venting system. The inspector will check for water damage and creosote buildup. A Level Two chimney inspection is required if there have been major changes to the fireplace system, re-lining, or a natural disaster. Having a chimney inspection is also a good idea if you plan to sell your house.

A chimney sweep can extend the life of your chimney system by removing hazardous residues from the chimney. If you can’t keep it clear, it may become clogged with creosote, which is flammable and can cause a chimney fire. It can also create dangerous particles and gases.

An inspector can also check for cracks in the chimney crown, which is the downward-sloping overhang on the chimney. A cracked crown can cause erosion and undermine its structural integrity. Cracks can also allow rainwater to enter the flue, degrading the flue liner. An inspector can repair cracked crowns or even replace them if needed.

Chimney repair costs can be surprisingly affordable. A simple surface-level replacement of a few bricks will cost between $150 and $250. However, a more extensive project may require replacing the entire chimney with a new structure. Further, cracks in the chimney’s foundation can lead to a chimney that leans, which could pose a health risk. Repairing a damaged chimney may require replacing sections or even the entire chimney, and the cost varies according to the amount of work required.

Another component that can lead to cracks is the crown. It protects the masonry section of the chimney and prevents water from accumulating on the top. Cracks in the crown are much more dangerous than those in the vertical sections, because water, snow, and ice can build up in this area. Even though the chimney crown is recommended to be 1:4 sloping, it can still trap moisture, which can deteriorate the chimney’s structure.

James Cone