Buying or selling a home can be an exciting endeavor, but it also comes with a long to-do list. And one of the most important parts of transferring property is scheduling the home inspection.

Home inspections help sellers or buyers find problems that need to be fixed before a property is finally sold. And once your home inspector sees that everything is clear, you’re good to go! …right?

Well, unless the home in question has a chimney. While home inspectors do complete a brief overview of the chimney, it isn’t nearly extensive enough to note everything that could be wrong. Because of this, scheduling a level 2 chimney inspection with a certified sweep is a must.

What Is a Home Inspection?

Home inspections are done by a qualified home inspector who checks both the interior and exterior parts of a home to see if any defects should be addressed. A home inspection is a non-invasive way of examining a residential property to check for any issues before the property is officially purchased. This allows the buyers the opportunity to either request that these issues be addressed before anything is finalized or to lower the price of the home to something more appropriate to its current state.

magnifying glass looking at a home

While this process does include the chimney, it doesn’t actually require an in-depth overview of the system. In fact, there could be some extensive interior damage that’s missed, leaving the new buyers to face some unpleasant surprises long after the sale is complete.

What Is a Chimney Inspection?

Chimney inspections are completed by professional chimney sweeps and are done to assess the condition and suitability for use of the chimney, flue and its connecting appliance. However – unlike home inspections that generally include the interior and exterior parts of the house – a chimney inspection solely focuses on the state of the home’s chimney.

There are three levels of chimney inspections. The first will be the most basic overview, and it’s typically what homeowners need to schedule for their regular annual maintenance.

If any major changes have been made to the appliance or – surprise – if you’re buying or selling a home, a level 2 inspection is a must. And level 3 inspections are left for situations where parts of the home or chimney may need to be removed or demoed to get the root of the problem (these are less common).

Home Inspection vs. Chimney Inspection: What’s the Difference?

Home Inspection

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, home inspectors only inspect visible and readily accessible portions of the chimney. 

  • It’s not a home inspector’s job to check the flue, vent system, or interior system of the chimney and fireplace
  • Home inspectors don’t determine if a chimney needs to be cleaned.
  • Home inspectors won’t perform any tests or dismantle any components.
  • Homeowners aren’t required to ensure the system was properly installed to begin with.

Long story short – home inspectors aren’t chimney professionals. And while they do a necessary and important job in the home buying/selling process, when it comes to the chimney, only a qualified and knowledgeable sweep should be trusted to properly assess it.

Chimney Inspection

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a level 2 chimney inspection is needed for all properties that are for sale.

  • A level 2 chimney inspection includes an examination of both the interior and exterior parts of a chimney or venting system.
  • Professional chimney sweeps will inspect the entire chimney – inside and out – to identify any safety issues or damaged/deteriorated areas of the chimney.
  • Sweeps evaluate performance problems, such as drafting and water leaks.
  • Special cameras will be inserted into your chimney’s flue system to providing digital views of those hard-to-see internal surfaces.

If there’s an issue in the chimney, a level 2 inspection is sure to spot it.

Why Are Chimney Inspections Important?

Inspections are important when buying or selling a home, but they’re something you should schedule annually too.  A chimney inspection gives your chimney company the opportunity to detect and fix issues within your chimney well before they get worse, so that your system can stand strong – and operate safely – for years to come.

You may also be experiencing excess buildup, which can be a fire hazard and will invite drafting and airflow issues. Chimney inspections reduce the risk of carbon monoxide exposure – a toxic gas that can pose a great threat to your whole household – as well as chimney fires.

Book With Us Now

The team here at Lords Chimney specializes in chimney, fireplace, and dryer vent services. For over 17 years, Lords Chimney has been providing the highest quality of service for homes and residents in the whole Houston area, and we would love to prove ourselves to you too. 

We are fully certified, experienced with a range of chimney and fireplace types, and know how to properly check, clean, and fix any chimney issue. If you have any questions, give us a call at 281-497-4000 or book online today.