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What a CSIA-Certified Chimney Inspection Means

. You may have seen them on 20/20, Dateline and Good Morning America, or read about them in Consumer Reports, The New York Times or Popular Mechanics. When the topic is chimney safety and chimney operation, the best place to get up-to-date, relevant information is from a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. And chimney services companies that employ these credentialed professionals are the best places to get chimney inspections, chimney cleaning and timely chimney repairs. Here’s why.


About the Chimney Safety Institute of America

CSIA stands for Chimney Safety Institute of America, a nonprofit organization run by chimney and fireplace industry leaders and technical experts. CSIA was established in 1983 to provide homeowners with a way to confirm the professional integrity and proven hands-on skills of individuals who work as chimney sweeps.

chimney inspectionWhen you see the “CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep” decal on a company’s website, its service trucks or its employees’ uniforms, you know that you’re dealing with professionals who have demonstrated the highest standard of expertise in performing inspections and other service work on chimneys, fireplaces and heating stoves. To maintain CSIA-certification, a chimney sweep must undergo re-testing every three years.



What happens during a certified chimney inspection?

Depending on why the inspection is happening, a professional chimney inspection can cover just the basics all the way up to a meticulous inspection that involves removing certain sections of the chimney and/or the building materials of the home that surround it.

A standard chimney inspection, the kind that homeowners are encouraged to schedule on an annual basis, covers the chimney structure and all readily accessible components such as the chimney liner, chimney cap, chimney chase top, chimney crown, flashing, top-sealing/throat dampers and other parts. This is a Level 1 chimney inspection.

Level 2 chimney inspections are required when a home is being sold. These inspections also are performed when a new heating appliance is connected to the chimney as well as when an event such as an earthquake or chimney fire is believed to have caused damage to the chimney.

Level 3 chimney inspections are performed when a previous inspection confirms that damage exists.  Level 3 inspections involve examining both visible and concealed areas within the chimney structure.

chimney inspectionWhy your chimney needs attention from a certified chimney sweep

Throughout the course of a year, a chimney can begin to show signs of minor damage. Annual chimney inspections allow you to spot that damage and get it fixed before it turns into a complex and expensive repair project. Chimneys can suffer many types of damage including:

·  Cracked or split chimney liner

·  Masonry decomposition

·  Cracking from house-settling,  earthquakes and gale-force winds

·  Interior and exterior water damage

·  Warped flashing that lets water into the home

·  Cracked chimney crown caused by the freeze-thaw cycle of infiltrating water

·  Rusted or non-operational dampers

·  Damage to the bricks of the smoke chamber

These and other types of chimney damage should never be handled by a novice or a “handyman.”  Only a CSIA-certified chimney sweep will have the tools, technical expertise and hands-on training to restore your chimney to a safe, fully operational state.


Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford, CT, provides certified chimney inspections, chimney cleaning and chimney repair services to ensure that your fireplace and chimney are safe to use and bring you all the comfort you expect from them. If it’s time for a thorough inspection, give us a call at (860) 233-5770.

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