Generally, a chimney inspection will cost you between $165 and $2,035, or a national average of $435. Routine inspections can be as low as $90, while an inspection to assess major structural damages could set you back as much as $5,000.
To keep your fireplace ready to use, you’ll want to keep up to date with routine inspections. However, circumstances of a storm or structural damage may warrant a more in-depth chimney inspection.
In this cost guide, we’ll consider how different scenarios can affect the overall cost of your chimney inspection:
- Average Costs
- Chimney Inspection Cost Estimator by Level
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Related Services
- Cost by Location
- FAQ About Chimney Inspections
Average Chimney Inspection Costs
|National Average Cost
|Typical Price Range
|$165 – $2,035
|Extreme Low-End Cost
|Extreme High-End Cost
The average chimney inspection costs between $165 and $2,035. Prices vary, depending on the level of inspection needed, accessibility, size of the chimney, and upkeep.
An annual routine inspection might cost you only $90, whereas a more in-depth inspection, involving structural damage, can cost you closer to $5,000.
Chimney Inspection Cost Estimator by Level
There are three levels of chimney inspections. Higher-level inspections involve a deeper assessment of damages and, therefore, cost more.
Level 1 Inspection
Level one inspections are your annual inspections, typically done in preparation for the cold season when your fireplace is most frequently used. They are also often completed in the purchase or sale of a home. This inspection costs between $95 and $950.
During a level one inspection, professionals will sweep the fireplace and chimney looking for any cracks in the foundation, an excess of creosote buildup within the smoke chamber, and other clear signs of damage throughout.
Level one inspections are typically performed during routine chimney sweeps and vice versa.
Level 2 Inspection
Level two inspections are used in assessing damage from chimney fires, major storms, and other natural disasters. They cost between $185 and $1,000.
These inspections may involve cameras to assess interior damages and provide access to the roof, attic, and crawl spaces to look at the entire fireplace and chimney structure. Level two inspections also include a general chimney cleaning.
Level 3 Inspection
Level three inspections are performed when major structural damages are suspected in your fireplace or chimney. They cost between $500 and $5,000.
These inspections are much more invasive. Often, parts of the chimney and its surrounding structure need to be removed in order to assess the damages fully. This not only costs more for the inspection but presents an additional cost in fireplace and home repairs once the inspection is completed.
Other Factors That Affect Cost
Many factors come into play, aside from levels, when determining the total cost of a chimney inspection.
The accessibility to all parts of the fireplace and chimney will affect the overall cost. A job consisting of a visual assessment from the base of the fireplace will cost much less than one requiring the inspector to manage a tricky roof, climb into an attic, or army crawl through a spider-web-infested crawl space.
Chimneys come in all shapes and sizes, and some are more manageable than others. Size can hugely affect chimney inspection costs. This particularly pertains to level one and two inspections.
Chimneys containing multiple flues will have higher costs to maintain than ones with a single flue. Also, larger chimneys undergoing a level three inspection that requires the removal of some of their parts will require you to pay more for repairs.
Homeowners who keep up with the general maintenance of their fireplace, including regular chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections, typically save money in the end.
Those who don’t schedule their annual inspections, or keep up with cleanings, will find that their fireplace and chimney systems present more issues during the rainy and snowy seasons. By catching problems early, through routine maintenance procedures, you’re saving yourself from far more expensive inspections and repairs in the long run.
When you have your chimney inspected, you may find that you also need some of the following services, which will add to your costs.
Chimney sweeps are typically included in a level one inspection and often level two as well. Their purpose is to remove any soot or creosote buildup from all parts of the structure and ensure that your fireplace is safe and ready to use.
If it isn’t included in the cost of your inspection, a typical chimney sweep costs between $110 and $290. Gas and wood-burning fireplaces are the least expensive type of chimney to have professionally cleaned, while wood and pellet stoves are the most expensive types to have cleaned.
|Type of Chimney
|Average Cost for a Sweep
|$80 – $145
|Wood burning fireplace
|$155 – $195
|$155 – $260
|$170 – $315
Common animals like birds, bats, and squirrels often seek shelter or become trapped inside of chimneys. This must be taken care of prior to any inspection, unless the unwanted animals were discovered during the inspection.
The cost for animal removal will depend on both the species of animal and the number of animals. On average, it will cost between $155 and $575. Be sure to choose a professional, humane wildlife trap and removal service to handle a job like this.
During an inspection, particularly a level two or three, you may be told that there are chimney repairs that need to be made. Whether it’s damage from a small fire, the aftermath of a storm, or simply the effects of time, repairs must be handled before continuing to use the fireplace.
On average, chimney repairs cost between $200 and $1,050. Smaller repairs, such as the replacement of a chimney cap, will cost less, while larger repairs, like repairing crumbling brick or fixing a leaning stack, will cost much more.
The type of fireplace is another factor contributing to chimney repair costs. Brick is the least expensive type of chimney to repair, while metal and prefabricated chimneys are slightly more expensive, and stucco chimneys are, by far, the most expensive.
|Average Repair Cost
|$210 – $1,165
|$690 – $2,475
|$235 – $1,200
|$235 – $1,200
Cost of Chimney Inspection by Location
The cost of a chimney inspection will cost more (as would just about anything) in a metropolitan area like New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles. In rural areas, the cost is typically less. Additionally, locations with more frequent natural disasters could be looking at higher costs because of higher demand for inspections and repairs in the area.
FAQ About Chimney Inspections
It is recommended to have your chimney inspected annually by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). However, those who rarely use their fireplace may not need inspections quite as often. Alternatively, those who use their fireplace year-round could benefit from more frequent inspections.
Fireplaces that haven’t been used in years should be inspected before resuming use.
DIY chimney inspections are not recommended. Chimney inspections should be performed by a CSIA-certified professional. These professionals are trained to identify damages that could affect the function of your fireplace and cause safety concerns.
Both level one and level two inspections typically include a chimney sweep. It helps inspectors complete their jobs safely and correctly. A professional chimney sweep also usually includes a visual inspection of the fireplace and chimney.
When to Hire a Chimney Inspector
Because of the dangers that a damaged chimney can cause, the safest thing for a homeowner to do is keep up with the maintenance of their fireplace and chimney, which includes an annual inspection.
Routine chimney sweeps and an annual chimney inspection can be the difference between a $90 level one inspection and a $5,000 level three inspection. Reach out to a local chimney professional to schedule your annual chimney inspection.
Note: Roof Gnome may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.
Main Image Credit: PxHere