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2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Blog

When to Get a Chimney Inspection


Many important organizations, including the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Fire Protection Association recommend regular chimney inspections to protect homes and the people in them.

You can’t do a chimney inspection on your own. There are many parts you can’t see unless you have special access and equipment. When you decide to have a chimney inspection in Saint Paul, we’re the professionals to call on for the job. 

But when should you have the job done? There are several situations where we recommend you schedule a chimney inspection.

When We Recommend a Chimney Inspection

Each year: Yes, we do advise making a chimney inspection an annual service, preferably in the fall before you start using the fireplace regularly. It’s especially important to have an annual inspection if you have a wood-burning fireplace because the inspection looks for potentially dangerous creosote buildup.

A standard yearly inspection checks for proper ventilation, looks for any blockages, and cracks inside the chimney liner that might allow heat to escape to the building material around the chimney. Thanks to an annual inspection, you’ll prevent carbon monoxide from flowing into your house, chimney fires, and several other potentially expensive and damaging issues. 

After a chimney fire: If you’ve experienced a chimney fire of any kind, you need to have an inspection as soon as you can arrange it. Don’t use the fireplace until the inspectors have checked over the chimney and found there are any repairs that must be done. 

When purchasing a house: When buying a house with a chimney, it’s a good idea to arrange for an inspection so you know the state of the chimney and whether it will need extensive repairs. This becomes more important for older homes where the chimney may be more than 50 years old. 

Chimney Inspection Levels

There are three levels of chimney inspections, and which one you’ll need is something your inspectors will decide on. In cases of regular annual inspections, Level 1 is usually sufficient. The other levels may be necessary in case of damage. 

Level 1. This is the standard, basic inspection type that our team does for regular annual inspections. It includes an inspection of the liner, and sometimes a video inspection using special equipment that can examine the full interior of the chimney. There’s also an inspection of the external parts of the chimney to look for cracks in the masonry and in the crown.

Level 2. This inspection requires special equipment and access to the roof and crawlspace. We usually do these inspections if the chimney has suffered some damage or if there’s been a change to the house (such as an upgrade to the gas system). This is also the level we’ll do if a home is being sold. Our technicians may recommend doing a Level 2 inspection during a Level 1 inspection that reveals issues. 

Level 3. This is a comprehensive inspection and requires removing parts of the chimney (such as the crown) to access different areas. This level of inspection isn’t done often—we usually recommend it if there’s been a chimney fire or other serious problems with the fireplace and chimney. 

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. serves Minneapolis, St. Paul and the Surrounding Communities. Schedule a chimney inspection with us today.

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