Chimney Inspections Are Vital for Safer Fireplace Use – Book Yours With Us

A chimney inspection is a complete examination of both the interior and exterior of your chimney. This thorough inspection helps the certified experts here at Highpoint Chimney Services find damage, deterioration, buildup, or other obstructions, so we can move forward with a plan to address them.

We recommend homeowners have their chimneys inspected every year. If you are overdue for a chimney inspection contact us as soon as possible to set up a consultation. You can also request an estimate from us!

We Offer 2 Levels of Inspections

Our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified technicians perform 2 types of inspections.

  • A level 1 inspection is a visual inspection of the chimney and flue.
  • A level 2 inspection is more comprehensive and involves the use of camera equipment. These are completed with a real estate transaction or after a natural disaster, chimney fire, change in fuel type, or other change in chimney construction.

Our 11-point inspection is for your standard fireplace chimney, and we also have a 15-point inspection for your furnace and hot water heater chimneys.

Why Invest in Annual Chimney Inspections?

Why is it so encouraged to invest in chimney inspections every single year?

  • Safety: One of the most important reasons to have your chimney inspected regularly is to keep your home and family as safe as possible when enjoying your fireplace. There are a number of issues that could invite hazards, so staying on top of it all is a must.
  • Fire Prevention: Regular chimney inspections help to prevent chimney fires from occurring by identifying and addressing buildup and other imperfections that encourage events of this nature.
  • Efficiency Boost: A clean and properly functioning chimney will run a lot more efficiently – and provide you with a lot more heat – than a system that’s clogged up and damaged. Spotting issues early is imperative for optimum efficiency.
  • Money Savings: Inspecting your chimney regularly gives sweeps the opportunity to identify small issues that can be repaired quickly and affordably before they turn into major problems that are costly to address.
  • Home Protection: A damaged chimney can allow water and heat to enter your home, which can cause damage to your walls, ceiling, and floors – and even increase your likelihood of experiencing a house fire.
  • Air Quality Improvements: A dirty chimney is typically filled with smoke, dust, soot, creosote, and other pollutants, which can get released into the air of your home – especially if you’re prone to downdrafts.
  • Extended Chimney Life: Regular inspections and maintenance can help extend the life of your chimney by identifying and addressing issues before they cause irreparable damage. Avoid rebuilds and needing new parts by getting this maintenance done every fall.
  • Coding Regulations: Different areas have different regulations when it comes to fireplace and chimney requirements. Annual inspections ensure your system is always looking good and up to code, so you don’t run into issues down the line.
  • Structural Issues: Chimney inspections can identify structural issues with your chimney, such as cracks or shifting, which could eventually lead to a collapse. These issues also leave you vulnerable to fire hazards and gas leaks.

All in all, annual chimney inspections ensure your fireplace will run safely and efficiently throughout your burning season. When it comes to lighting fires in your home, it’s best to leave no stone unturned, and inspections will grant you that peace of mind you and your family deserve.

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Do I Need an Inspection If I Haven’t Used My Chimney?

Definitely. As long as you’re planning on using your chimney in the year ahead, scheduling an inspection should be on your to-do list.

Why? Because you’ll never know if issues are present or not unless you have an expert look things over. Lighting fires is only one of many things that puts wear and tear on your system, and you could have underlying – sometimes hidden – issues that would make putting your fireplace to use dangerous.

Chimney Inspection

What issues might occur in a rarely used flue?

  • Animal invasion
  • Buildup of nesting materials
  • Outside debris lodged in there
  • Creosote from previous fires
  • Water-related damages
  • Broken down parts
  • Wind damages
  • Freeze/thaw damage
  • Crumbling mortar or missing bricks
  • …and more

As you can see, an inspection isn’t something to put off. Don’t take any chances, and get that inspection booked before the start of your burning season.

How Do Annual Chimney Inspections Save Me Money?

One of the biggest reasons homeowners neglect booking inspections every single fall is because they don’t want to shell out the dough only to have their sweep tell them everything looks fine – or that only minor issues need to be addressed.

Here’s the thing, though – it’s because of these annual inspections that your chimney stays in such good shape and that small damages don’t get any worse. Otherwise, issues would arise and worsen until they became super time-consuming and expensive to address – things like crumbling masonry, rusted metal components, clogs in your flue, and more.

In addition to this, chimney inspections ensure everything is functioning as efficiently as possible. This guarantees more heat for your household, so that you can crank down the thermostat and lower your monthly energy bills.

Still need convincing? Consider these scenarios:

  • We perform your inspection and notice your chimney cap is damaged. Easy fix – we’ll just replace it! Or you skip the inspection, allowing the damaged cap to let water enter and wreak havoc. Now you’re looking at major masonry damages, mold infestations, clogs, staining, and more.
  • We complete your inspection and notice your creosote levels are higher than they should be, so we perform a sweeping and clear it out. Or you skip your inspection and creosote continues to build up… until it eventually ignites and creates a chimney fire. Now, you’ve got lots of damage to address and your system won’t be safe for use.
  • We perform an inspection and notice your mortar joints are crumbling. So, we suggest tuckpointing services, ensuring your system gets back to looking great and standing strong. Or you skip the inspection and your mortar continues to crumble… until major cracks and gaps form – your structure collapses altogether.

We could go on, but you get it… The simple truth is that when you’re lighting a fire inside of your home, staying on top of fireplace maintenance is a must. Save yourself the time, money, and stress involved with chimney repairs and rebuilding by getting your inspection booked annually.

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What Is a Real Estate Chimney Inspection?

Real estate chimney inspections are a more thorough overview of a chimney that are completed before the sale of a home. These include a camera inspection and may require the removal of certain panels or components to view accessible areas of the system. If you’re buying or selling a home, these should always be scheduled with a certified sweep before any final papers are signed.

How is a real estate chimney inspection different from a normal chimney inspection?

Your most basic chimney inspection is known as a level 1 inspection. These are what we complete for systems that get yearly maintenance and that have had no major changes in fuel type or construction. During these, your sweep will look for any signs of damage or blockages, checking over all readily accessible areas of the chimney interior and exterior.

Chimney Camera Inspection

During the sale or transfer of property, though, a chimney sweep completes a level 2 inspection. This consists of:

  • an examination of all readily accessible portions of the chimney
  • an examination of chimney connections
  • checking for structural soundness of the flue
  • checking for proper installation
  • using video equipment to thoroughly scan the flue interior
  • an assessment of appropriate clearances
  • an examination of chimney areas that go through any crawl spaces, basements, or attics
  • using basic tools to open any doors, panels, or other coverings

When you work with us, our sweeps will do a visual and camera inspection for the real estate agent. You will then receive a written report with pictures and recommendations of what needs to be done in order for the chimney to be up to date.

Didn’t my home inspector cover this?

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), home inspectors only need to inspect the visible and readily accessible areas of your fireplace and chimney. This means that it is not their job to check the flue, vent system, or interior system of the chimney and fireplace.

They also aren’t required to determine whether or not you need a chimney cleaning, won’t complete any tests to see how the system functions, and won’t know whether or not the system was properly installed in the first place. They also aren’t required to dismantle any components or remove any parts of your system to get a closer look.

Basically… your home inspector isn’t a qualified chimney technician. They have an important job, and we’re sure they’re well-equipped to do it well, but when it comes to getting a full and accurate assessment of your chimney, it’s best to trust a CSIA-certified chimney sweep for the job.

Why are real estate inspections important?

Booking a chimney inspection with a certified sweep is an important part of any real estate transaction. These can reveal potentially costly issues with the chimney that can either be worked into the price of the home or dealt with before the new buyers move in. If you’re on the purchasing end of a home, this is one step you won’t want to overlook.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you approach this step in the home-buying process:

  • Hire a CSIA-certified sweep. Hiring someone with the appropriate expertise and equipment is imperative for getting an accurate assessment. If your tech is uncertified, inexperienced, and underqualified, they may overlook something important – which will leave you with some unpleasant surprises after moving into your new space.
  • A camera should be used. A real estate chimney inspection should include a visual examination of the interior and exterior of the chimney, as well as a camera inspection to assess the chimney interior’s structural integrity and potential ventilation needs.
  • Repairs should be addressed quickly. If the chimney inspector identifies any issues with the chimney, they should provide recommendations for necessary repairs or upgrades. It is important to address these issues prior to completing the sale of the property to avoid potential liability issues down the road.
  • Maintenance should be kept up. Once your inspection is complete and you’re in your new home, don’t think that your fireplace’s maintenance responsibilities are done. Industry experts recommend investing in a chimney inspection every single year to ensure its overall safety and functionality.

How Much Does a Chimney Inspection Cost?

There’s no standard price for chimney inspections throughout the industry, and even within a single company prices can vary, depending on what type of inspection you need, the current state of your chimney, and how easy your chimney is to access.

The best way to get an accurate estimate is to give us a call and talk about your specific needs and setup. That way, you aren’t just given a “best guess” – rather, you’ll have an accurate assessment based on your unique situation.

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Anatomy Of Chimney

What Parts Are My Fireplace & Chimney Made Up Of?

Fireplaces can be either masonry-built or prefabricated, so the parts you have may vary based on your setup. That said, knowing the ins and outs of your system can help you when it comes to maintaining your system and operating it as safely as possible. Here’s a basic rundown of what you can expect to find in your fireplace’s anatomy.

  • Firebox: The firebox is where the magic happens. This is where your fires are lit and is the part that everyone looks at when flames are bouncing around. That said, it needs to be built from the right materials to withstand all that heat. We can repair your masonry firebox if it’s damaged, or if you have refractory panels, we can replace those too.
  • Smoke Chamber: The smoke chamber is directly above the firebox. It’s essentially an upside-down funnel that helps to guide smoke to your smaller chimney opening – otherwise all that smoke will just bounce right back into your living space. Smoke chambers nowadays should be parged smooth to allow smoother transitions – if yours is corbeled, we can get this job done for you.
  • Chimney Damper: When your fireplace is in use, smoke needs to travel up and out, so it doesn’t enter back into your home. But when it’s not in use, you don’t really want that pathway open – cue chimney dampers. These seal the flue, so you don’t have to worry about your heat or A/C escaping out. Ask about our more energy-efficient lock-top dampers.
  • Chimney Liner: Your chimney liner is what lines the chimney, ensuring the heat and fumes from your fires don’t break down your masonry or metal chimney or damage your home. These also help to guide the smoke and gases out, so your system runs efficiently. Ask about our relining services – we offer stainless steel options, HeatShield® methods, and more.
  • Chimney Crown: Chimney crowns are cement-based slabs that make up the top of your chimney. Their job is to direct water away from both the interior of the chimney and the masonry walls. Unfortunately, many crowns of the past were built from unreliable mortar mixes. If you need repairs or a rebuild, we can handle it.
  • Chase Cover: Do you have a prefab unit? Then you won’t need a chimney crown, but you will need a chase cover. These essentially have the same function as a concrete crown, only they’re fitted on prefab units to keep the chimney chase protected. That said, the stock models that systems come with usually rust up pretty quickly – count on us for a reliable replacement.
  • Chimney Cap: The chimney cap is what covers the hole in the top of your chimney. It comes with a reliable metal top, mesh sides, and should be custom-fitted to your specific setup. Chimney caps keep out rain, snow, curious critters, downdrafts, leaves, excess debris, and pretty much anything else that may clog up your flue.

Now, if any piece of your chimney system is suffering or showing signs of damage, don’t hold off on calling in a pro. Our experts offer a long list of services, and we can ensure everything is looking good and running well. Whether you need cracks patched up, various parts replaced or rebuilt, or debris and buildup cleared out, we’ve got you covered.

Just don’t delay! The longer chimney repair services are put off, the worse things will get – and other areas of your system or home may be affected. The sooner you get issues addressed, the more time, money, and stress you’ll save yourself down the line.

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Can I Inspect My Chimney Myself?

Being aware of your chimney’s parts – what they look like, how they operate, etc. – is important for knowing where your system stands and what shape it’s in. But when it comes to actually performing an inspection, even the most knowledgeable homeowner should leave this job to the pros.

A tech that’s trained and certified with the CSIA will have in-depth and extensive knowledge about your entire system, knowing where to look and what to look for to ensure your system is in tip-top shape. These techs go through an exhaustive training process and take a lengthy exam to ensure they have all the knowledge possible to provide their clients with quality care.

Here at Highpoint, on top of being CSIA-certified, we’re also highly experienced. We have over 20 years of industry knowledge under our hats, so we can spot issues or imperfections that other less-experienced techs might miss.

To sum up – no, doing an inspection yourself isn’t recommended, as chimneys are intricate systems that require lots of training to fully understand. And if issues are missed or overlooked, you could end up facing threats of hazards come time to light your fire. Don’t take any chances – rest easier by booking with us today.

When’s the Best Time to Book a Chimney or Fireplace Inspection?

We suggest booking your inspection (and your annual chimney cleaning!) on the earlier side – like in the spring or summer months. Why? Because, come fall, our books fill up fast!

Every year when temps drop, homeowners throughout our service area all think the same thing: Winter is coming! Better get my fireplace inspection booked! And while booking your inspection before lighting your first fire is the right thing to do, everyone tends to get the same idea at the same time.

As you can imagine, this can lead to lots of delays for our clients, especially if we discover damages or buildup that needs to be addressed.

Booking in the springtime gives you the freedom to schedule during a time and day that’s good for your schedule, and it gives us ample time to address any other chimney or fireplace repairs you might be needing too. Not to mention, many of our repair products cure better in the more reasonable and pleasant temperature ranges of spring and early summer. Come winter, some repair jobs might have to wait.

Our Technicians Are Here for You

For quality chimney and fireplace services in the Hillsborough area, trust our experts. We’ve spent years proving ourselves to homeowners in Somerset County, Middlesex County, and Hunterdon County, and we’d love to show you what we’re made of too. When it comes to performing thorough and in-depth inspections, there’s no better crew to trust than us.

Why do our clients keep coming back to us? We’ve definitely got the qualifications – we’re licensed, insured, industry certified, and are members of multiple organizations that provide training and educational materials. But on top of all that, we’re dedicated to always putting our customers’ needs and safety first. That means being honest, fair, and thorough with every job we take on.

So, let’s get started. Give us a call today at 908-864-4114 to get your next appointment scheduled, or you can book with us online and we’ll be in touch. Thanks for reaching out!


When it comes to chimney and fireplace repairs you can count on, set up an appointment with our chimney sweeping professionals for all things chimey-related.