Chimney Inspection Checklist for Beginners – 2020 Guide

Having a fireplace in your home is always a precious asset, don’t you agree? Just think about all those winter nights you get to spend next to it, with a book and glass of wine in your hands, while staying warm. It does sound straight out of Christmas movie, doesn’t it?

However, just like any other valuable possession in your home, this one also has to be maintained regularly. Yes, we know, it is another item on your to-do list, but this one is really important because it is the only way to ensure that your fireplace doesn’t turn into a fire hazard. In the following article, we have created a checklist i.e. step-by-step guide on how to perform the chimney inspection.

Schedule professional inspection and cleaning


If you thought that this is a guide on how to clean the chimney on your own, you are wrong. Yes, there are some things that you can inspect on your own and we are going to discuss them later, but remember, some tasks are better left to professional, and chimney cleaning is definitely one of them.

Go through the ads in local newspapers and online sources and find a reliable company that is in your area. You know what you need to look for, right? Someone who knows all the ropes, who has a lot of satisfied customers, and whose fee is within your price range. If you are unsure about the services these companies offer visit

What should you look for?

Before we begin our guide, let us tell you about a few things that you should be on the lookout for. First of all, if there is any kind of visual damage, using the fireplace until you fix everything is out of the question. When we say ‘damage’, we mean anything from cracks on the walls to broken tile pieces.

Secondly, if there are any strange noises coming from it, the absolute first thing that you have to do is call professionals. Unless you are in this line of work, too, you won’t be able to figure out what is causing that buzzing sound.

Where to start the inspection?

As we have already mentioned, visible damage and peculiar noises coming from the fireplace should be the first sign that something is not functioning properly and that you need to hire a team of experts to come and fix whatever is broken. Now, let’s begin with our checklist. What is the first item on it?

Chimney Cap

You should begin your inspection by investigating the chimney cap. It is of utmost importance to be thorough, and check every inch of it for any kind of cracks and even make sure that the whole construction is intact. If chimney cap is in any way damaged, debris or small animals can get lodged inside and if this happens they could prevent the smoke and fumes from getting out. As you can imagine, this can easily lead to fire or even carbon poisoning.


While you are up on the roof, the next thing that you should check is the flashing. This thin piece of metal is what fixes the chimney to the roof, and over time, it can deteriorate or become loose. When this happens water and moisture can easily get inside the chimney where they can cause a lot of substantial damage.

The exterior of the chimney

Now that you have inspected the inside of the chimney, you cannot forget to check out the exterior. Once again, check if there is any damage, if some chips and pieces have fallen out of their place, and fix what you can. Surely, it doesn’t look as good as it did years ago when you bought the house, but noticing some small gaps and cracks isn’t the end of the world. Fix what you can, and move on.

The flue

The next thing that you should deal with is the flue. Over time, creosote can accumulate here and as you probably know, it is the leading cause of house fires. This is something that a professional will do, so all you might want to do is to inspect it. The chimney sweeper will thoroughly and carefully clean the walls and the liner to remove the soot, creosote, and other types of debris that have gathered there.

Cut down branches

You are done with the inspection of the chimney on your roof, but there is another thing that you should do before getting down. Are there trees or branches close to the chimney? If the answer is affirmative, you should remove them. Why? Well, first of all, these can turn out to be another fire hazard. Secondly, they can be an obstruction to fumes and smoke, and we have already mentioned how dangerous this can be.

The ash

We are moving on to the inside of your house i.e. the fireplace. The initial thing that you have to do is to remove all the ash. Yes, we know, a little bit of it can be very helpful in lighting the fireplace, but if there is too much of it, the moisture will actually cause the flames to burn out sooner.


Moreover, you have to be certain that the fireplace damper works perfectly. What do we mean by this? It means that it has to open and close properly and that it seals tightly. If this is not the case, the hot air from your home will escape through these gaps and the cold one will get inside which is only going to increase your heating bill over the winter.

Smoke detectors

Even though your fireplace has just been inspected by professionals and it is in perfect condition, you have to remember to check the smoke detectors. Unfortunately, accidents can happen and the only way to ensure yours and the safety of your family is to regularly change batteries in these devices and check them frequently so that you could be certain that they work perfectly.

Finally, don’t forget about the fire extinguisher. Having one in your home is of utmost importance. Make sure that it is charged and that it can be used at any moment.

Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the started.