Let Southern Chimneys help you figure out what levels of chimney inspection you need.

Do you realize how important your chimney is to the health and safety of your home? Your chimney is one of the major components of your home’s safety, not to mention energy costs, yet it often gets ignored. Southern Chimneys is out to change that! If it’s been over a year since you’ve had one…it’s time for a chimney inspection.

Levels of Chimney Inspection

levels of chimney inspection

There are technically three levels of chimney inspection set by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and followed by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). We’ll let you know right from the jump that Southern Chimneys typically performs a Level 2 Inspection and that’s what you’ll most likely need from us. But what are the three levels of chimney inspection? (adapted from the CSIA website)

NFPA was founded as a self-funded nonprofit, whose mission is to help save lives and reduce loss with information, knowledge, and passion. What started as a Boston-based organization for fire sprinkler codes has grown to become the leading global advocate for the elimination of death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards.

The CSIA, a non-profit organization dedicated to chimney and venting system safety, has established three levels of chimney inspection to standardize the assessment process. Each level addresses different degrees of chimney issues, from routine checks to comprehensive evaluations.

Chimney Inspection Level 1 –  this is a general, visual, 18-pt., safety inspection that can determine if and when work is needed to be done at the lowest cost. If your fireplace, chimney, stove or venting system has not changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a Level 1 inspection is a minimum requirement. A chimney inspection Level 1 is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same fireplace, chimney, or other appliance.

​In a Level 1 inspection, your chimney inspection technician will be looking for the basic soundness of the chimney structure, fireplace, and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections. The technician will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.

Chimney Inspection Level 2 –  A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the fireplace, chimney, flue, appliance, or other portions of the system. Changes can include a change in the type of fuel, changes to the shape of, or material in the flue (i.e. relining), or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency. Additionally, a chimney inspection Level 2 is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operational malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events as well as weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted.

There are no specialty tools (i.e. demolition equipment) required to open doors, panels or coverings in performing a Level 2 inspection. A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required by a Level 2 inspection.

Chimney Inspection Level 3 – When a Level 1 or Level 2 chimney inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without special tools to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue, a Level 3 chimney inspection is recommended. A Level 3 chimney inspection addresses the proper construction and the condition of concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Removal or destruction, as necessary, of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure, will be required for the completion of a Level 3 inspection.

Watch this helpful video from CSIA that explains the three levels of chimney inspection: