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What Are the Different Levels of Chimney Inspection?

Levels of Inspection

You may have at some point heard someone mention a “level one” or “level two” chimney inspection — maybe during an inspection visit from Advanced Chimney Techniques, or when you first bought your home, when the home inspector made a recommendation for a deeper look into the chimney (or what’s often called a Real Estate Chimney Inspection.

The idea of inspection levels might sound a little nebulous, so we figure it’s worth offering some more explanation as to why they were outlined and why our CSIA-certified technicians follow those guidelines.

The NFPA 211 Standard Makes Chimney Inspections Better For Everyone

Level 1 Chimney Inspection Image - Columbia MO - Advanced Chimney

Depending on the issue in your chimney, you may need more inspection than a Level 1.

For a long stretch of time — from the era of the stereotypical top-hatted, roof-skipping chimney sweep, up to the beginning of this century — the way a chimney inspection was handled was more or less up to the discretion of the individual chimney sweep. You might’ve gotten lucky with a smart, experienced and detailed sweep who’d do a thorough job, or you might’ve had someone take a cursory glance and leave you with a false sense of security that you end up paying for later.

In early 2000, though, the National Fire Protection Association developed and disseminated the NFPA 211 standard, which is what certified technicians base their chimney, fireplace and vent work on today. The intent in part was to ensure that homeowners were getting the most thorough and accurate inspection possible, since the NFPA’s goal, overall, is to work to minimize fires and other hazards. (They do that through research, developing smart standards based on that research, and educating industry professionals about those best practices).

The NFPA standards also raised the bar and generally improved the chimney industry — certified techs are trained and tested by the Chimney Safety Institute of America to provide thorough, detailed work that meets high industry standards, and that training and accountability makes us all better informed about and more capable of providing the best service possible. Ultimately, CSIA-certified technicians are doing a better, more consistent job because of these guidelines, and clients are enjoying chimney systems that perform better and more safely.

So when you schedule your chimney inspection appointment with the CSIA-certified techs at Advanced Chimney Techniques, we’ll recommend either a level one, level two or level three inspection, and with that inspection, give you a thorough and accurate picture of the state of your chimney system. We outline the different levels on our chimney inspection page, but here’s a cheat sheet:

Level 1 – your annual, everyday inspection, for when nothing in your system has changed

Level 2 – a deeper look (including attics and basements, and video scanning) done with the system’s changed, or before real estate transactions

Level 3 – the most thorough inspection (which can include removing parts), done if there’s a hazard, or we suspect that there might be

If you have any other questions about your annual chimney maintenance, let us know — we’re always here to help!