Here’s a list of 5 important things to consider when choosing a chimney inspector:

  1. What certifications does the inspector have? The F.I.R.E. Certified Chimney and Fireplace Inspector Certification is the only chimney inspection certification in the industry. This certification is earned by taking a 6 day course and passing a rigorous test on chimney inspection procedures, codes, and standards. If any cleaning or sweeping is to be done, the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Certification is the gold standard of the industry. And, if there are any wood, pellet, or gas appliances the inspector should have the applicable NFI Certification.
  2. Will the inspector give the correct level of inspection for your circumstance? NFPA 211 clearly lays out 3 different levels of inspection for different circumstances. I discuss the different levels on the inspection page of my website.
  3. Will the inspector be able to show pictures of any defects? The inspector should have the ability to photograph defects in the chimney and be able to show them to you so you don’t have to “take their word for it”.
  4. Will the inspector provide a report of his findings? The inspector should have the ability to present his findings in a report for your records. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) offers an inspection and report writing class that teaches proper report writing for each level of inspection. You can check if the inspector has taken this class on the CSIA website.
  5. Will the inspector certify that the chimney is safe? Nobody with any type of formal training should ever certify that any chimney is “safe”. There are far too many areas hidden behind walls to properly determine if any chimney meets all the required thicknesses and clearances required. An inspector can only see the areas accessible within the limits of the level of inspection being performed.