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A Home Inspector Is Not Necessarily A Chimney Expert

To protect all parties and provide full disclosure to the prospective buyers prior to making the purchase, a chimney inspection should be scheduled. When a home-buyer finds their dream home, they want to know exactly what they’re getting. A standard home inspection will not thoroughly evaluate a chimney system. It can’t. Only a certified chimney expert has the training and experience to assess a chimney system, and present a valid report of their findings.

CSIA Inspections

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is the national standard for the chimney industry. CSIA certified chimney sweeps undergo extensive classroom and field training in order to meet this high standard. They also adhere to a stringent code of ethics to maintain certification. In addition, a re-examination or continued education every three years is required. These standards of education, training, and performance give them the capability to inspect chimneys and fireplaces of all kinds. Thus, giving them the CSIA signature desired by realtors, insurers, and code officers.

A standard home inspection is a visual observation the following:

  • plumbing
  • heating/cooling system
  • electrical and appliance systems
  • the roof
  • foundations
  • the basement
  • walls
  • doors
  • windows
  • chimneys

(Note: This assessment of the chimney is generally for structural soundness. It also doesn’t offer a report on the functionality of the chimney. Only a certified chimney sweep has the proper tools to assess the chimney system from top to bottom, inside and out, and offer a report of this kind.)

Level 2 CSIA Inspection

There are three levels of CSIA inspections required under different circumstances. The level 1 is the annual inspection required when no changes have been or will be made to the system. However, even if you had a level 1 inspection in the last year, a level 2 CSIA inspection is required before a sale or transfer of property. It is more thorough than a home inspection. It includes a visual inspection by video scanning of internal surfaces, and joints of the flue liner. This inspection includes everything in a level 1 inspection (standard annual inspection) plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior (attics, basements, crawl spaces). It will also address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations.

The home inspector may be able to use tools to determine if a chimney is plumb. Also, observe visible damage such as spalling or leaks, but to a home inspector a brick looks like a brick. A certified chimney sweep can determine if a chimney is constructed of the correct materials. Additionally, they can tell if the size and shape of the smoke chamber and flue are up to code, and if there are unseen hazards.

It’s in both the seller and buyer’s best interest to have a level 2 chimney inspection completed by a certified chimney expert, before a sale. Before papers are signed, or money crosses hands, the chimney report should be included in the disclosure statement.

Unlike home inspection companies, CSIA’s main priority is safety and keeping families and individuals safe. As CSIA members and certified sweeps, Hudson Chimney shares this priority, which is why we offer chimney inspections year-round. To schedule yours, call 904-282-4159.

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