You’ve found your home. Whether it’s a starter, a fixer-upper, or your dream house, it’s soon to be yours! It’s an exciting time, but before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you get a chimney inspection. Failing to do so could leave you with big – costly and potentially dangerous – problems.

Does a Chimney Get Inspected When Closing On a House?

It should. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen.

Let’s find out why. Most buyers know that their mortgage lenders require a house inspection before they agree to extend the loan. They need to make sure it is a “good risk” for them – and you need to make sure you are fully aware of any issues that could mean expensive repairs or unsafe conditions. But what most buyers do not realize is that a typical home inspection does not include a professional chimney inspection.

A house inspector is certainly highly knowledgeable in their area, and they will check visually to see if the chimney appears straight and undamaged. This, of course, does not mean that it is in proper operating condition. It just means that there are no signs of trouble upon a cursory inspection.

It is possible that a chimney can appear to be undamaged and pass inspection. The buyer closes, and then, on a cold winter night, they start a fire. This is the worst time to learn that the chimney liner is cracked or corroded. A damaged liner can lead to fire, the infiltration of toxic gasses (e.g. carbon monoxide) into the home, and deterioration of the chimney structure. A general, visual house inspection will not detect this extremely dangerous problem.

This is why homeowners need to order a level 2 chimney inspection before closing on a house.

Level 2 Chimney Inspection

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) sets the standards for chimney inspections, and they have categorized them in three levels. Level 1 is your basic inspection that you should get annually. Here, the chimney sweep examines the accessible part of the chimney (inside and out), and the accessible parts of the heating appliance and chimney connection. They’re looking to see if it is free from obstructions and that components are in good shape.

A level 2 chimney inspection is more intensive and is highly recommended by the NFPA when buying a house. In addition to the basics covered by a level 1, the chimney sweep will look at the internal surfaces and flue liner joints, examine clearances from combustibles, and inspect accessible portions of the home impacted by the chimney/heating appliance, including the basement, attic, and crawl spaces.

Protect Your Investment – and Your Home

While not strictly required by your lender (or by law, if you do not require financing), getting a level 2 chimney inspection is a smart move. Opt for a Chimney Safety Institute of America Certified Chimney Sweep for optimal results and exceptional peace of mind. The cost is usually between $200 and $1000, but this could save you many times that by catching problems early.

Contact Brick + Ember to schedule your level 2 inspection. Our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps have the extensive training and expertise you need before you close on your house.