Chimney Inspection Near Me: How to Hire for a Chimney Inspection
When it comes to finding “chimney inspection near me,” hire someone in your local area who is certified and experienced. Hiring the wrong person could put your property and your family’s lives in danger.
A chimney inspection is a vital part of owning a fireplace with a chimney. They’re usually performed with regular chimney cleanings, but more extensive issues might require an in-depth inspection. Although the chimney inspection industry isn’t as highly regulated as some industries, some inspectors are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to perform chimney inspections.
To choose the perfect candidate for the job, it’s not just a matter of hiring the first company who comes up in your search results when you search for “chimney inspection near me.” It’s a good idea to do your due diligence and vet your top choices. As a homeowner, you want to hire a qualified, responsible company to inspect and fix your chimney. Not doing so could cost you enormous amounts of money, time, and stress in the long run.
Cost of a Chimney Inspection Near Me
If you need a chimney inspection performed, you can expect to pay between $300 to $600, with the national average costing around $450. These costs may go up or down depending on where you reside. For instance, the cost to have a chimney inspected in San Francisco, California, will vary from how much it costs in Concord, New Hampshire, due to the cost of living and local demand. The type of tool used during inspection could also affect the price of the chimney inspection. For example, some chimney inspectors may use a camera to check the flue, which can cost $200 to $400 but may go up to $1,000 if you have more than one flue. Inspection costs may also vary drastically by the level of chimney inspection that an inspector must perform. Search for “fireplace inspection near me” or “chimney cleaners near me” to start your hunt.
What’s Covered During a Chimney Inspection?
Chimney inspections vary by the level of inspection required—and the costs vary, too. A Level 1 inspection is a part of the annual cleaning, which costs between $129 and $377. On its own, a Level 1 inspection can cost $100 to $950. A technician will perform a more cursory inspection and ensure the chimney’s overall condition is sound with this type of inspection. The technician will examine easily accessible parts of the chimney, ensuring there are no blockages and the chimney is free of creosote buildup—a combustible byproduct of burning wood.
Level 2 inspections usually cost between $200 and $1,000. A technician typically employs this type of inspection if you have recently had changes to the system or there have been issues such as a recent fire or storm damage. This type of inspection may be required after a property is sold. The tech will check the same things that are checked in a Level 1 inspection and use a video camera to check the flue. The technician may even check other house areas, including the attic, basement, or crawl space.
Level 3 inspection may cost between $500 and $5,000. You’ll need a Level 3 inspection if there are severe structural problems, including loose masonry. This inspection includes all that’s included in Level 1 and Level 2 inspections, but it goes further to remove building or chimney components to check for proper clearances, particularly if a hazard is suspected.
Do I Need a Chimney Inspection?
Some homeowners use their fireplaces extensively during winter months, and some homeowners use them only on special occasions to add to the ambiance. Whether you use your fireplace often or very little, it is still a good idea to get your chimney inspected. A chimney isn’t just bricks on top of a house—there are many complicated parts of the chimney working together to ensure that you can safely burn a fire in your fireplace. If any of these parts are damaged, they can cause carbon monoxide to leak into the home or even cause a chimney fire. And if you are one of those homeowners who has a fireplace but never uses it, it’s still a good idea to keep it in good condition in case you intend to sell your home. If you are wondering whether you need a chimney inspection, below are some reasons you should consider it. To start your search, try searching the web for “chimney inspectors near me.”
One reason to have your chimney inspected is that there are emergency issues with it. If these emergency issues aren’t addressed, you could be at risk for a chimney fire. You could also put your family’s respiratory health at risk from breathing in toxic air. If you experience any of the following emergencies, it is a good idea to have a chimney inspection completed before attempting to use your fireplace again. Here are some emergencies you should get resolved as soon as possible.
- You’ve noticed black smoke coming out of the fireplace.
- There is a chimney fire.
- There are structural issues with your chimney, such as loose masonry or a leaning chimney.
- Your carbon monoxide detector goes off when you have a fire lit.
While non-emergency issues aren’t as critical, they are still necessary to address to keep your fireplace functioning properly. Even if you use creosote remover or creosote logs to minimize creosote buildup in your chimney, you should still regularly have cleanings and inspections. Here are a few non-emergency reasons to have an inspection.
- It’s time for an annual chimney cleaning and inspection.
- You hear unusual noises coming from your chimney and suspect animal presence.
- There is a lot of soot buildup in your fireplace.
Other Considerations and Benefits
Another important reason you may need to have a chimney inspection performed is if a recent roof inspection revealed that you have bad or missing flashing. The roof inspectors will likely replace the flashing, but if water seeped into the chimney while the flashing was damaged or missing, you might need to address moisture problems. If you plan to sell your home, it’s a good idea to have your fireplace inspected and cleaned. Having a lot of soot and various debris in your fireplace may be a turnoff for potential buyers. Another reason to consider having your chimney inspected is if you can see that bricks are out of place or mortar is missing. This may mean that your chimney is experiencing spalling, which can cause bricks to crumble and collapse.
DIY vs. Hiring a Professional Chimney Inspector Near Me
Some homeowners might think it’s a good idea to do their own chimney inspections as DIY projects to save some money. However, this is one home improvement task that is best left to professionals. A chimney inspection involves more than just cleaning out creosote, leaves, and any small animals living in your chimney. Chimney inspectors use tools like specialized camera equipment that the average homeowner won’t have on hand. An inspection requires recognizing potential problems with the chimney. For instance, a certified technician will determine if there are problems with the chimney’s structure and will also know if there is cracking in the flue that could put your family’s air quality at risk—or can even cause a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, inspection should be performed by a qualified agency. Therefore, it’s also a good idea to choose chimney inspectors that are highly skilled to do the job.
How to Find a Reputable Chimney Inspection Near Me
A fireplace is a beautiful focal point in any room, but it can become dangerous if the right measures aren’t taken to keep it running correctly. Not only can you put yourself at risk by not having regular inspections, but not hiring a trustworthy, responsible chimney inspector can also jeopardize your property and your life. Many combustible parts of the chimney can be very dangerous if neglected or mistreated. Therefore, you shouldn’t trust your chimney inspection to just anyone. Interview several potential inspection companies and go the extra mile to verify the information that they have provided to ensure they are qualified. Here are some ways to ensure that the company you are working with is qualified to perform your chimney inspection.
- Start looking by searching “chimney inspection and cleaning near me.” Verify the results by using the CSIA website to see if the inspectors are licensed.
- Review the company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) site to view complaints about the company, if any.
- Ask for references from friends, family, or neighbors and check out reputable third-party reviews on the company.
- Interview technicians to narrow down your choices by asking the following questions and any others that you can think of that are specific to your situation.
Questions to Ask Your Local Chimney Inspector
There may be a few weekend warriors out there who perform chimney inspections but aren’t qualified to do so. As a consumer, it is an excellent idea to protect yourself from unscrupulous chimney inspectors. A good way to do this is to choose at least three chimney inspection companies and interview them. It may also be a good idea to research these chimney inspectors to verify what they tell you. Here are some questions that you can ask to help you narrow down which company you should use.
- How long has your company been in business?
- What level of inspection do you think I need?
- Is your company insured?
- Do you have unresolved complaints pending against your company?
- Can you share references or reviews about the company?
- Do you offer free estimates on services?
- Are your technicians certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)?
- Do you use flashlights or cameras to do chimney inspections?
- Will you clean up after you’re done?
- How soon will you have my inspection report ready for me to review?
It is critical to hire qualified chimney inspectors because they will know what to look for to keep your property and your family safe from harm while using your fireplace. Here are some common questions homeowners like to know about the chimney inspection and cleaning process.
Q. How much does it cost to check a chimney?
Local chimney sweepers may offer a free chimney inspection if you are also getting a routine cleaning done. However, you will have to pay for a Level 1 inspection if you get it without a cleaning and pay more for Level 2 or 3 inspections, even when they’re performed with a cleaning. Depending on the level of inspection, you could pay anywhere from $100 to $5,000.
Q. Is the chimney a part of a home inspection?
A chimney inspection is typically not a part of the home inspection. A home inspector may quickly look for obvious problems with the fireplace, but they are not required to get up on the roof and do full-scale chimney inspections. Just because your chimney passed the home inspection for the home sale doesn’t mean there aren’t problems. It’s a good idea to have a certified chimney inspector perform a dedicated inspection.
Q. How often should fireplaces and chimneys be cleaned?
Fireplaces and chimneys should be cleaned at least once a year before you use them for the season. Most homeowners opt to get the cleaning done in the fall or winter, but you may run into delays or scheduling conflicts as a result of others trying to get their chimney cleaned. It may be easier to schedule an appointment at your convenience in the late summer or late spring.
Q. What happens if you don’t sweep your chimney?
Over time, creosote, dead animals, leaves, and other debris can build up in your fireplace and cause blockages. This can affect your air quality by releasing black smoke into your indoor air. Excess buildup can lead to a fire that starts in the chimney and can spread throughout your home.