Chimney Inspection Cost
Chimney Inspection Costs 2021
There are several advantages of having a chimney in your home, but if you don't take the proper precautions and measures to keep it safely up and running, you can cause more harm than good to you and your home. Cozy fires are great on winter nights, but a house fire will always be a strong possibility if your chimney isn't inspected regularly.
In fact, chimney fires happen as often as more than 25,000 a year in our country. Simply put, it's just not worth the few bucks you save by ignoring basic responsibilities that prevent significant disasters.
If you're wondering where to start, you're at the right place. Being informed and prepared for chimney inspections and their costs ensure you know what you're getting into and how much you'll need to get the job done.
Here are some FAQs you'll get accurate answers to:
- What Is The Average Cost Of A Chimney Inspection?
- What Is The Cost Of A Chimney Inspection By Level?
- What Is The Average Cost For Chimney Camera Inspection?
- What Are The Signs You Need A Chimney Inspection?
- How Often Should You Get Your Chimney Inspected?
- What Are The Additional Costs And Considerations for Chimney Inspection?
- How To Avoid Chimney Inspection Scams?
- How To Save Money On Chimney Inspection?
What Is The Average Cost Of A Chimney Inspection?
For a chimney inspection, the national average is $450, with the range between $300 and $600. You can also expect maximum costs to hit as high as $5,000, with minimum costs going as low as $85 in some cases.
To be clear, this is just the national average. It is no real estimation of what you will pay because there are so many contributing factors that go into final costs, including roof accessibility and the type of chimney.
What Is The Cost Of A Chimney Inspection By Level?
The inspection level you need plays a significant role in the amount of money you will have to pay professionals. From lowest to highest, pricing increases with your chimney's threat level and the amount of time, work, and resources that need to go into ensuring your chimney is safe and running properly.
Level 1 covers a fundamental visual inspection with very little in-depth examining of your chimney. It is the least costly and most regularly requested inspection but only needed if you want the yearly examination but suspect no real issues. This inspection can also lead to level 2 or 3 if bigger problems are suspected and the chimney inspector suggests a more in-depth investigation.
Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) explains that level 1 is when the technician checks areas that are "readily accessible," with special attention to "basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections.” It continues, “The technician will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits."
Cost: $79 to $200
Level 2 inspections include level 1 and special attention to changes made in your chimney system like your chimney liner (or chimney flue) and fuel change, also, after an external event or a major malfunction. In many cases, this inspection can include camera inspections to investigate flues further. However, nothing is popped open for a closer look unless you need level 3.
This level sometimes even includes checking your crawl space and basement for chimney safety.
CSIA also says that level 2 inspections are "required upon the sale or transfer of a property."
Cost: $100 to $500
Level 3 inspections are the most thorough inspections you can get. These are often reserved for the more serious problems that require the removal of specific components to investigate the entire chimney wall and other parts of the chimney for structural damage, combustion exposure (carbon monoxide), and more.
It includes level 1 and 2 inspections and is usually only requested when the issue seems significant or hazardous.
Cost: $1,000 to $5,000
What Is The Average Cost For Chimney Camera Inspection?
In some cases, chimney camera inspections can be included in your basic inspection, but you can always find a company that doesn't use them and charges less. However, camera inspections allow technicians to get a better visual look into parts of your chimney that they may not otherwise be able to see clearly.
With that being said, you can expect to pay on average about $200 to $600. This number doesn't represent local quotes directly since your location and other factors can move the needle in either direction. For instance, adding a chimney sweep to your inspection can be an additional cost.
Always shop around for affordable quotes to find the best offer in town.
What Are The Signs You Need A Chimney Inspection?
It's smart to keep up with annual inspections but even smarter to pay attention to signs all year round to avoid any further problems that can be prevented.
Here are 6 signs to keep an eye out for:
- Water on the floor of your firebox can be an indication of leaks or damages to your chimney cap.
- Weird odors could be a sign of creosote buildup in the flue.
- Smoke coming back into the house could be due to your flues and should be addressed immediately since it contains carbon monoxide.
- Cracking or crumbling of the exterior masonry can lead to bigger problems and higher costs.
- Clicking sounds from the firebox warrant an immediate inspection because it can be a sign of a chimney fire.
- Chimney discoloration can be minor or severe, depending on the source of the discoloration. Having an inspector look into the problem will prevent any significant problems down the road.
How Often Should You Get Your Chimney Inspected?
The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, "Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.”
Besides annual inspections, you should request an inspection based on any suspicions of damage or hazards and after any major events that could've caused problems.
What Are The Additional Costs And Considerations for Chimney Inspection?
While considering your options for getting an inspection, there are other cost factors to keep in mind, as well. A lot of times, the inspection can lead to costly repairs or vary depending on location and accessibility.
Here a few additional costs to think about when considering your budget.
You may not know this, but professionals charge extra if you have multiple levels or a steep roof and they need to access your chimney cap. This is because it puts them in a hazardous situation and costs more for them to take the risk. Chimney type can even play a role in final costs, depending on how difficult it is to work with.
The location should always be factored into costs when getting any inspections, repairs, renovations, and improvements because it differs from state-to-state. For instance, cities like New York will have higher service costs than the lower-cost of giving locations like El Paso, Texas.
Chimney Sweep (Chimney Cleaning)
The decision to add chimney sweeping to your inspection can also increase costs. However, it is still highly recommended because a good chimney sweep every year reduces blockages, creosote buildup and cleans out your damper (or venting) for better airflow.
Chimney sweeps are a major part of your annual chimney maintenance, so we suggest always adding it to your chimney services to ensure that no other problems lead to bigger repairs (like flue liner replacements).
Wood burning chimneys really need cleaning services to remove the build-up of creosote that coats the chimney walls. However, gas fireplaces need to be factored into cleaning costs, too, because even though they don't create creosote, chimney cleaning can remove objects like a bird's nest, animals, and more.
The video below will help you stay organized with your chimney repair checklist.
Fireplace cleanings aren't the only additions that can be added to your inspection costs. The reason you're getting the inspection is to check for damages, hazards, and potential repairs, so it's only smart that you consider the potential for extra costs after inspections.
Depending on the severity of the problem, this could mean big bucks, but that's not always the case. Nonetheless, it's always better to be safe than sorry by being prepared but not worrying too much until your results come in.
If water gets into your chimney, this can cause many more problems for you to factor in. If it isn’t caught in time, you could be looking at damper and firebox rust or even liner deterioration. Be sure to mention any possibilities of moisture damage to your chimney inspector to ensure that everything is checked thoroughly.
How To Avoid Chimney Inspection Scams?
As much as you want to save money when you can, the best way to avoid chimney inspection scams is to be informed on at least the basics of what you need and to pay close attention to the company you decide to hire.
Don't be afraid to do your research. Check other customer experiences and results, BBB ratings, and ask around for recommendations. Also, vet professionals with a reputable history.
Most importantly, never go with the cheapest company for the sake of saving money. Remember, you get what you pay for! If you cut corners with a cheap company, you're likely to get cheap service from a technician who can miss many signs and problems that need to be attended to.
How To Save Money On Chimney Inspection?
You should always look into anything and everything that you can save money on without putting you or your home in danger. Home repairs, renovations, inspections, and installations can sometimes become a financial burden, but they come with the contract of being a responsible homeowner.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to save:
- Warranty - Look into what your warranty covers and make sure to take advantage of it when you can. It's there for a reason!
- Explore your options - Choosing the first company you meet is a big mistake because it may be twice as expensive as others with the same qualifications and expertise. Shopping around ensures that you get the best bang for your buck.
- Be involved and ask questions - It's also important that you stay involved in the inspection and ask questions about methods and recommendations. This helps reduce the likelihood that you will be duped into extra expenses you don't need.
Homeowners insurance - This is an option if you find your problem's source is closely related to a hazard covered in your insurance but does not often cover inspections specifically. It's always better to discuss this with an agent for confirmation.