Chimney Inspections

On January 13, 2000, the National Fire Protection Association adopted these levels of inspection into code NFPA 211 (Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances). NFPA 211 is the standard upon which certified chimney sweeps base their services.

Once the inspection level is determined, the certified chimney sweep explains the scope of work to the homeowner as follows:

  • Level I Inspection: This inspection is recommended when the chimney and venting system is easily accessible and when the homeowner is planning to maintain its current use. In general, this the level of inspection performed in most homes. In a Level I inspection a certified chimney sweep verifies that the chimney structure is sound and that the chimney is free of obstructions and combustible deposits, such as creosote.
  • Level II Inspection: The addition of a new home heating appliance or a change in the type of fuel a homeowner is burning requires a Level II inspection. This inspection level is also required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operating malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney (ie: chimney fire or lightning strike.) The scope of a Level II inspection includes that of the Level I inspection plus the inspection of accessible portions of the attics, crawl spaces and basements. It may also include a performance test such as a smoke test or a pressure test and possibly an interior chimney video inspection if recommended by the certified chimney sweep.
  • Level III Inspection: When a Level I or Level II inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without access to concealed areas, a Level III inspection is recommended. This type of inspection confirms the proper construction and condition of concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Level III inspections are generally necessary when investigating an incident that has caused damage to a chimney or building, or where a hazard is detected and suspected.

Both the CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association recommend yearly chimney inspections to help prevent fire and carbon monoxide poisonings. The CSIA also recommends that chimney and venting inspections be completed by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps.

CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps have earned the industry’s most respected credential by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimneys and venting systems.

Many brand new homes have a problem with chimney deterioration (brick spalling, brick cracking and mortar joint erosion). The reason being is because of modern, high efficiency, heating appliances (ie: furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, etc.) are more efficient than they have ever been, but the excess condensation they create cause more build up (creosote build up) in chimneys than ever before, so it’s important that every household have a regular checkup from a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.