What Chimney Sweeps Look for During a Chimney Inspection

The term “chimney sweep” is technically given to a professional chimney cleaner. Many chimney sweeps have been trained in other chimney-related tasks including chimney inspections.

When inspecting your chimney, the chimney sweep is looking for anything that indicates damage or malfunction in your system. Here are five of the most important areas a chimney inspection focuses on.

chimney Inspection Merrimack, NHChimney stack

The chimney stack is the part of the chimney above the roofline and is always examined closely during a basic Level 1 chimney inspection. (Other, more-involved inspections are performed if damage to the chimney breast below the roofline is suspected.) In evaluating the bricks and mortar that make up your chimney, the inspector checks for cracks in the surface, damaged bricks, crumbling mortar, and the overall structural integrity of the chimney.

Venting & clearance

Chimney sweeps make sure the flue is correctly sized to properly draft smoke from the fireplace. Smoke backing up into the home – a common reason people schedule chimney inspections – often is caused by an improperly sized flue or one that is obstructed (see below). The chimney sweep also checks the condition of the fireplace/firebox to make sure that smoke and combustion gases are shielded from contact with nearby building materials of the home. A compromised firebox can lead to damage to the home or a fire.

Chimney and fireplace components

Basic inspections include looking at the chimney crown, chimney cap, flashing, fireplace damper, and other components to ensure they’re in good shape and working correctly. Every component in a chimney system is there for a reason; often the reason is to protect the structure from water damage. When component issues are uncovered, repairs can be made or the component(s) replaced.

Chimney Sweep in Amherst, NHCreosote in the flue

Wood smoke condenses inside the flue and forms a substance called creosote. Creosote is highly flammable and is responsible for most chimney fires each year in the United States. Chimney sweeps have the right tools and training to safely remove creosote and reduce the likelihood of a chimney or house fire. Most fire-safety agencies recommend annual chimney/vent cleaning for homes using wood-burning appliances.

Debris in the flue

Chimneys operated without a good-quality chimney cap are subject to infiltration by all manner of debris including leaves, twigs, small-animal nests, and dead small animals. This debris creates a drafting obstruction. Chimney sweeps check for these obstructions because they can cause smoke and deadly carbon monoxide to back up into the home and put the health of people and pets at risk. Similar tools are used to remove both creosote and other obstructions.

Schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning

If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned or inspected in more than a year, Black Moose Chimney & Stove of Antrim, NH, is standing by to help. We provide CSIA-certified chimney inspections, chimney sweeping, chimney repairs, and chimney rebuilding services year-round.

Call (603) 525-7905 to talk with an expert about your chimney.


First Thing

John RantaJohn Ranta
17:01 22 Mar 24
They arrived on time, worked quickly and showed me the results. Prfessional throughout. jr
william greenwilliam green
23:21 14 Mar 24
Really helped me out can't say enough good things highly recommend!!!! The young man that came to my home was very knowledgeable and friendly great attitude all around answered all my questions and left me stress free best of all left no mess.🤙🏻🤙🏻
Michael Dell'OrtoMichael Dell'Orto
18:39 14 Mar 24
Jaime ConleyJaime Conley
17:13 14 Mar 24
Sarah GilliattSarah Gilliatt
01:46 13 Mar 24
A very thorough and careful job done! Thank you.
Larry CookLarry Cook
15:11 07 Mar 24
I wanted to give 5 stars but they are very busy which meant I had a good wait for both the inspection/cleaning, then for a quote on repairs and then for the repairs. Their prices seemed a little high to me but I have nothing to compare with as they were highly recommended by someone I trust and other companies had plenty of negatives reviews which kept me from getting additional quotes. I am happy with the work and they promptly returned to fix a mistake that had been made. Chris the inspector, Jennifer in the office, and Alex and his repair crew were all pleasant and took the time to answer all of my questions. Alex and his crew even took their shoes off (it was winter) before entering my house without even being asked! So if you are not in a rush and want to ensure you chimney is as safe as possible then I think you'll be happy with Black Moose.
Rebecca DeFuscoRebecca DeFusco
22:35 21 Feb 24
After a recent sweep of our chimney, it was discovered that our flue tiles were cracked. Black Moose techs were hard working, detail oriented and professional! Nice jobs guys! See you next year for my cleaning!
Karen CKaren C
14:52 14 Feb 24
Excellent I highly recommend Black Moose Chimney and Stove; Kelly and Liam are awesome, they did a great job. Extremely professional, arrived early, went through everything with a fine tooth comb ensuring pellet stove was thoroughly cleaned. They also were respectful of my home, conscientious and cleaned up after themselves. Made sure stove worked prior to leaving and told me to call promptly if anything came up afterward. Will definitely use them again.
Denise ClarkDenise Clark
16:32 31 Jan 24
We've had Black Moose clean our chimney for a number of years.But recently, we had an emergency situation at our home involving our chimney & oil furnace flue, which was caked full of soot from a malfunctioning furnace. They came & cleaned out both flues in no time, even going up on the roof with snow on it! They cleaned up after their work in the interior rooms where the oil furnace and the woodstove are located. Great work. Reasonable prices. Very nice people. You can't go wrong with Black Moose.
Joe GJoe G
18:30 24 Jan 24
Goods: The technicians know their business, very efficient in cleaning/inspection along with cleaning up after the 'dirty work'.Others: Communications could be more effective. Despite early coordination about scope of work (multiple flues within same chimney) the estimate provided did not reflect this and the final invoice was significantly more than the estimate provided.Quote for follow-on chimney relining was significantly more than that offered by other companies in the area (and far more than neighbors experienced for similar work accomplished by other companies)