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The Home Depot

Fireplace Inspection Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Home Inspection > Fireplace Inspection Guide
Fireplace Inspection Guide

Your fireplace should inspire feelings of warmth and comfort. There’s nothing like hanging out around a warm fireplace when it’s cold and windy outside. Fireplaces are great, but, without proper care, they can be dangerous, too.


According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating fires account for up to 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year. “Often, these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes,” the group says. “All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and effectively.”


One way to stay safe, U.S.F.A. says, is to have your fireplace inspected and cleaned by a certified specialist every year. This fireplace inspection guide will tell you not only how to find a fireplace inspector, but what to expect when having the work done.

  1. 1.Why Should you Have your Fireplace Inspected?

    According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating fires account for up to 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year.

    You should have your fireplace inspected because normal wear and tear is inevitable for any part of your home. That means, any number of things could cause your fireplace to not operate at 100 percent. There is buildup that results from repeated use, the possibility for cracks, disintegration or damage to the fireplace itself, and leaves or even animals that could fall into your fireplace and clog it. By having your fireplace inspected, the chances are high that you’ll catch any problem that might develop early – saving your much more devastating and expensive problems later.

  2. 2.How to Find a Fireplace Inspector

    There are a number of way that you can find a fireplace inspector – the Yellow Pages, Google, or even word of mouth, for example. However, how can you be sure to find the absolute best fireplace inspector for you? The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has a few recommendations. The group says that you should ask how long they’ve been in business, check for current references, and make sure they have a valid business liability insurance policy to protect you against accidents.

  3. 3.What to Expect when Having your Fireplace Inspected

    First, there are a few things the CSIA recommends you do to get ready for your inspection. The group advises you not to use the fireplace at least a day or so before the inspection. They also say you should move furniture or any home décor away from the fireplace so the inspector will have plenty of room to work. Chimney inspections can be classified as level 1, level 2 or level 3. Level 1 inspections are the most basic – the kind most homeowners will need. As the levels increase, so does the amount of scrutiny and detail your inspector will pay your fireplace. Your inspector will take a look at the inside and outside of your fireplace and chimney. They will also check any small parts and connections on your fireplace.

  5. 4.How to Avoid Fireplace Problems

    The best way to avoid any fireplace problems is to make sure to have your fireplace cleaned and inspected regularly. Many fireplace maintenance services provide cleanings and inspections together. Between cleanings, be alert to any changes you see in your fireplace. If you notice a strange smell, excessive amounts of smoke, or damage to the fire place, call in a pro right away. The best way to handle any home improvement issue is to attack them while they are small, so they don’t get bigger and more expensive as time goes by.


    Having your fireplace inspected is one of the best ways to keep your family safe and protect your home from fire damage. Remember – it’s not just something that’s nice to do; it could be the difference between life and death.

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