Chimney Inspections Are Recommended Annually: Book Yours in Charlotte With Owens Chimney Today

Did you know that annual chimney inspection services can prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning and explosure? In fact, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been years where 18,300 residential fires – all originating in chimneys, fireplaces and solid fuel appliances – took place in the United States. These fires resulted in 160 personal injuries, 40 deaths and $158.2 million in property damage.

Virtually all of these fires were preventable according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a non-profit institution dedicated to public and professional chimney education. Both CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend a yearly chimney inspection in Charlotte, NC to help prevent these hazards.

The good news for homeowners in Charlotte searching “chimney inspection near me” (and hoping to never become part of those statistics mentioned above)? Owens Chimney Systems is here to help. Call us now or book online by filling out our appointment request form.

Chimney Safety Institute of America Chimney Inspection Video Thumbnail Link

How Often Should I Have My Chimney Inspected?

There’s no doubt in your mind that inspections are important – and having a professional do the job is a must.

The NFPA recommends that all fireplace and chimney inspections be conducted on a yearly basis. In addition to this recommendation, homeowners should also discontinue use and have an immediate inspection conducted if your system is affected by any of the following circumstances listed below:

  • Chimney fire
  • Weather events – lightning, wind or water damage, etc.
  • Home purchase – should be conducted in addition to the home inspection
  • Insertion or removal of gas logs

When chimney fires occur, many insurance investigators rely on certified chimney sweeps to determine whether a fire originated in – or damaged – the chimney system. Charlotte, NC homeowners can rest assured that we have highly trained Certified Chimney Technicians on staff that can properly diagnose any chimney-related issues you might have.

Why Should I Get a Yearly Chimney Inspection?

Did you know that storks nesting in chimneys were once believed to bring good luck, according to European folklore? The fact is, though, bird nests in chimneys – or blockages of any kind in your fireplace – are nothing short of bad news. These obstructions can cause smoking problems, chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more.

Now, many Charlotte, NC homeowners think their chimneys only need to be cleaned and inspected if they burn wood in their fireplaces or wood stoves. But almost all heating appliances – whether they burn gas, oil, wood, or coal – rely on the chimney to safely carry toxic gases produced by the heating system out of the house. 

A carbon monoxide detector can warn homeowners of potential poisoning after the deadly gas has already entered the living area. However, an annual chimney check can help prevent carbon monoxide from entering the home in the first place (always the better option, in our opinion).

In the end, an annual chimney inspection by one of our North Carolina Certified Chimney Sweeps is a modest investment that can reduce the danger of chimney fires or carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. It’s amazing how, every fall, homeowners shift into home-improvement mode. They clean gutters, garages and basements getting everything prepared for the winter and the upcoming holiday season. The one thing they forget and don’t usually inspect, repair or clean is their chimneys, which makes little sense considering the potential for damage to both property and lives!

Our certified chimney sweeps have earned their credential by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimneys and venting systems. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

What Is an “Internal Video Evaluation” for Chimneys?

An Internal Video Evaluation for chimney systems is a process in which a camera system is inserted into the chimney to inspect its internal condition. This process can be done via the rooftop or from the firebox, and it provides a more comprehensive inspection of the chimney’s internal conditions.

Once in place, the technician will discuss the findings, as displayed on the TV monitor, with the homeowner. Not all chimney inspections require a video scan. If there are certain indications given, or if the technician suspects a specific problem, then a video scan can be conducted. 

Here at Owens, all of our service trucks are equipped with Internal Video Scanning Equipment. If you’d like more information, or if you’re ready to schedule your next appointment, don’t hesitate to reach out now.

What Is a Chimney Inspection?

Let’s talk about what exactly a chimney inspection is – a thorough examination of the interior and exterior of your chimney. The inspector will look for any damage or signs of wear and tear that could compromise the safety of your chimney.

It is important to hire a CSIA-certified tech to ensure that the job is performed properly. There are three types of chimney inspections – Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.

What Is a Level 1 Chimney Inspection?

This is a basic inspection that is recommended annually for all chimneys. During a level 1 inspection, the inspector will examine the readily accessible portions of your chimney, including the interior and exterior.

  • Recommended if you have not changed – and do not plan to change — your heating appliance or system.
  • Considered appropriate during annual service visits.
  • Technicians do not need to use tools to open or remove doors, panels, or coverings in order to examine the chimney exterior and interior.
  • Technicians may need commonly available tools to examine portions of the appliance and the chimney connection.
  • The evaluation will not disrupt the chimney structure or finish.

What Is a Level 2 Chimney Inspection?

A level 2 inspection is more thorough and is recommended when there has been a change to the system, after a natural disaster, or after a level 1 inspection reveals a potential issue. During a level 2 inspection, the inspector will use interior digital camera technology to examine (inspect) the flue lining and other otherwise inaccessible areas.

  • Required when any change is made to your system – for example, before the flue is relined, or when you replace an appliance with another of a dissimilar type or efficiency level.
  • Required upon the sale or transfer of property.
  • Suggested when an operating malfunction or external event is likely to have caused damage to the chimney or appliance.
  • Does not require the removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure.
  • Includes all services appropriate in a level I inspection, plus the examination of accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior, including attics, crawl spaces, and basements.
  • Includes inspection by video scanning.

What Is a Level 3 Chimney Inspection?

The level 3 inspection is the most comprehensive inspection and is recommended when a level 1 or level 2 inspection reveals a serious issue. During a level 3 inspection, parts of the chimney or surrounding wall may need to be removed to gain access to the problem area.

  • Conducted only after a level 1 or level 2 inspection indicates a hazard in concealed portions of the chimney and flue.
  • Involves the removal, and possibly destruction, of portions of the chimney or building structure, as necessary.
  • Requires special tools and access to concealed areas of the chimney and flue.

How Long Does a Chimney Inspection Take?

By now, if you’re a homeowner with a fireplace, then you know that booking annual inspections is important. But how long does a chimney inspection normally take?

The time it takes to perform a chimney inspection depends on several factors, including the type of inspection, the size of your chimney, and the condition of your chimney. Here’s a quick overview of you what you typically expect:

  • Level 1: These most basic overviews typically only take between 45 minutes to an hour to complete.
  • Level 2: These are more thorough and in-depth, so they can take between 1 to 2 hours to complete.
  • Level 3: These are the most time-consuming and can take several hours or even a full day to complete. The good news is that these are the least common.
Inspector looking at the inside of a chimney

All that said, various factors can affect how long or short your inspection is. Things like…

  • The type of inspection you need. As mentioned earlier, level 1 inspections are typically quicker than level 2 or level 3 inspections.
  • The size of your chimney. Larger chimneys will take longer to inspect than smaller chimneys.
  • The current condition of your chimney. If your chimney has significant damage or needs extensive repairs, it will likely take longer to inspect and to get a full analysis completed.
  • How accessible your chimney is. Chimneys that are difficult to access, such as those on high roofs or in hard-to-reach areas, will take longer to inspect.
  • The current weather conditions. If the weather is particularly cold, wet, or windy, it may take longer for the inspector to complete the inspection.

How Can I Prepare for My Chimney Inspection?

To ensure that your chimney inspection goes smoothly and quickly, there are a few things you can do to prepare. Here are some tips:

  • Clear the area around the chimney. Move any furniture, decorations, or other items away from the fireplace or stove, so the inspector can access the area easily.
  • Clean the fireplace or stove. Sweep out any ashes or debris from your fireplace or stove before the inspection.
  • Provide access to the attic and basement. If your chimney runs through the attic or basement, make sure the inspector has easy access to those areas.
  • Be available. Make sure you or someone else is available to let the inspector into your home and answer any questions they may have.

What Happens During a Chimney Inspection?

During a chimney inspection, the inspector will examine all accessible parts of your chimney to check for any damage or issues. Here’s what you can expect during a typical chimney inspection:

Inspection of Exterior Chimney Components

The inspector will examine the exterior components of your chimney, including the chimney cap, crown, and flashing. They’ll check for any cracks, leaks, or other damage that could affect your chimney’s performance.

Inspection of Interior Chimney Components

The inspector will examine the interior components of your chimney, including the firebox, flue liner, and damper. They’ll check for any cracks, blockages, or other issues that could affect the safety, use, and performance of your chimney.

Inspection of Fireplace/Stove

The inspector will also examine your fireplace or stove to ensure that it’s in good working condition. They’ll check the firebox, hearth, and other components to make sure that they’re clean and free of damage.

What Happens After a Chimney Inspection?

After the inspection, the inspector will provide you with a report detailing their findings. If any issues were identified, they’ll recommend fireplace repair or maintenance services to ensure that your chimney is healthy and functional. It’s important to address any issues as soon as possible to prevent them from getting worse and potentially causing more significant problems down the line.

This is a great time to ask any lingering questions you may have about any next steps for moving forward. After all the chit-chat is done and a plan for any repair services is formed, the sweeps will pack up their things, leaving your home looking the same as it was before they arrived.

Do Home Inspections Include Chimney Inspections?

When buying a home, there are a lot of things to consider. Will the appraisal be sufficient? Will escrow close on time? How are we going to move all our stuff? However, one of the most crucial aspects is to ensure that everything in the new house is in good working order – including the fireplace and chimney.

So, does a home inspector cover this area? Yes and no. 

To give a quick explanation, while the inspector may look over the chimney, they don’t have the experience or knowledge to diagnose any problems. This means, before buying or selling a home, you’ll still want to book a level 2 inspection with a certified chimney technician.

It is imperative that these areas are given thorough attention. If not, it could lead to expensive and disastrous problems in the future, leaving you with a lot of repairs to invest in. More details to follow…

What is a home inspection?

 A home inspection is an assessment of a property’s condition, conducted by a professional inspector. The inspector will examine the property’s major components, including the foundation, roof, electrical systems, plumbing, and HVAC systems. 

What does a home inspection include?

A home inspection is a comprehensive examination of the overall condition of the entire property. A standard home inspection usually includes an assessment of the property’s visible and accessible components. This means that any areas that are not readily visible or accessible may not be included in the inspection.

The goal of a home inspection is to identify any issues or potential problems that may need to be addressed to ensure the safety and livability of the home.

Will the inspection include the fireplace and chimney?

A chimney inspection is a specific type of inspection that focuses solely on the chimney and its components, including the firebox, damper, liner, and masonry. The purpose of a chimney inspection is to assess the condition of the chimney and determine if any repairs or maintenance are necessary to ensure correct and efficient operation.

While a brief overview of the chimney is typically included as part of a home inspection, it is important to note that they are two separate and distinct services. A home inspector may have some knowledge of chimneys and be able to identify basic issues, but a certified chimney sweep or inspector will have more specialized knowledge and expertise in this area.

Call or Schedule Online Today

Chimney and fireplace inspections are important for safety, efficiency, compliance, cost savings, and peace of mind. Before purchasing a home, it is recommended that you have your chimney and fireplace inspected thoroughly by a professional chimney sweep to ensure that everything is in good working order. And after you’ve settled in? Be sure to book that maintenance every single year.

The team at Owens Chimney Systems is ready to help you out. Call us today or schedule online now. We’re here for you.


Our chimney and venting services cover a lot of things, including gas fireplace and gas log services. Whatever fuel your system burns, we’ve got you covered.