Cleaning Services

Chimney Safety and Inspection Levels

Having your chimney inspected semi-regularly will help to keep it safe and functioning properly. Cracks in the crown (the concrete, stone, or metal overhang at the top of the chimney) can allow rain to wash down the chimney, causing erosion and structural damage.

This inspection checks for obstructions like twigs and birds’ nests. It also evaluates the lining and damper. Contact Chimney Inspection Charleston SC now!

Level 1 inspections usually take about an hour or more to complete. They involve a thorough examination of the driver’s license and supporting documentation, Medical Examiner’s Certificate or Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate (if applicable), ELD or log book and hours of service records; cargo securement; vehicle cabs, engine compartments and seating; and HM/DG requirements (if necessary). Selecting a safe place for an inspection is important. The location should be paved, level and visible to traffic. It should also be free from hazards such as curves, hills and soft shoulders. Drivers are required to assist with the examination and must be near the truck or in the cab during most of the inspection.

Level 2 Inspection

A level 2 inspection is an in-depth analysis of the entire chimney system. It includes checking the fireplace in attics and basements, looking for proper clearance from combustible building materials, and scanning the flue using a specialized video camera that allows the inspector to see even the hardest-to-reach areas of the chimney.

A detailed report is then compiled, which can include recommendations for any needed repairs and their cost estimates. The report is a critical tool in the prevention of long-term chimney problems and may help in avoiding costly and dangerous fires. Regularly scheduled maintenance and cleaning practices will also prevent many chimney-related issues that would otherwise lead to a more expensive, invasive, and time-consuming repair project.

During the Level 2 Inspection, your certified chimney sweep will take detailed notes and photos of the interior and exterior of the fireplace and chimney structure. This information will be used to write up a comprehensive report and recommend any necessary repairs that can be carried out by a licensed chimney professional.

The Level 2 inspection is recommended by your chimney sweep for a variety of reasons, including changes to the fireplace or flue system, such as switching fuel sources, adding a new insert, or making alterations to the chimney itself. These kinds of changes can affect drafting and safety, so a level two inspection is an important step in ensuring that the chimney is working correctly.

Another reason for a level two chimney inspection is if the property has recently undergone any kind of damage. A natural disaster, chimney fire, or building fire could all cause significant structural damage to the fireplace and chimney system, so a level two inspection is recommended in these situations to ensure that the chimney is safe for use.

Choosing the right General Inspection Levels affects how statistically confident you can be in your inspection results, and it will also impact the costs of testing and sample analysis. However, the AQL tables offer other special levels that can be applied to specific test types and items on your inspection checklist. These special levels allow you to reduce the number of samples required, lowering your costs and increasing the speed of the inspection process.

Level 3 Inspection

At Level 3, a vehicle is examined to ensure the vehicle meets HM/DG requirements. This is a thorough inspection that includes a level two inspection plus verification of the public and confidential VINs on, at the inspector’s discretion, any or all parts of the vehicle to determine vehicle identity and that it is equipped for highway use.

Choosing the General Inspection Level you’re comfortable with affects the statistical confidence in your inspection results and your costs. If you’re working with a new supplier or are experiencing quality issues, consider using General III until the issue is resolved.


Rust is a red or orange discolored residue that forms when ferrous metals, like those in the chimney cap and damper, mix with oxygen and moisture. Homeowners often see rust on the exterior chimney brick and mortar, chase cover and damper, and even inside their firebox. If this corrosive material isn’t promptly addressed, it will speed up masonry and metal deterioration.

Chimney rust is also a sign that your chimney hasn’t been properly cleaned. A professional chimney sweep should remove rust stains with a high-powered water sprayer and a specially formulated cleaning solution like ChimneySaver Brick and Mortar Cleaner. This non-corrosive solution doesn’t contain muriatic acid, which would accelerate damage to masonry materials.

If you notice rust in the flue liner or any other masonry component, it’s time to call for a chimney inspection and cleaning. A corroded chimney flue liner will lead to a faster buildup of creosote and increased risk of a chimney fire. It’s also a sign that your chimney isn’t effectively protecting your home from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The best way to protect against rust is to replace any rusted chimney components with stainless steel ones, which have an added protective layer of chromium that’s resistant to corrosion. This includes the chimney cap and flashing, which is a key point where water leaks into the masonry materials of your chimney. A stainless steel chimney cap and a top sealing damper like the LockTop system not only keeps birds, animals, and other critters out of your fireplace but also seals off your chimney at the top, keeping cold air out and warm air in when the chimney isn’t in use. These systems are also much easier to maintain than traditional clay flue tiles and can help extend the life of your chimney.


Brick spalling is a serious condition where crumbling, flaking, or chipping bricks are causing deterioration to the surface of your chimney structure. When left untreated, spalling can lead to serious structural damage that compromises the safety and integrity of your chimney. Typically, spalling is the result of water intrusion, which causes the masonry to erode over time. It starts as a minor problem and can quickly turn into a big issue that requires professional repair to avoid further damage to your chimney and living spaces in your home.

Chimney Solutions professionals use a number of different methods to repair spalling bricks and ensure it does not recur. The first step is to fully assess the extent of the deterioration by carefully inspecting the bricks, mortar joints, and other areas of your chimney. The inspector will also evaluate the structural stability of your chimney to determine if it is leaning or has other signs of movement that could indicate deeper problems.

Moisture is one of the biggest causes of spalling, so the inspector will also look for any areas where moisture is leaking into your chimney. This includes the area between the chimney flue and chimney crown, which is where gaps often form after years of exposure to wet weather conditions. This area can allow water to flow down the inside of your chimney and cause other health and safety concerns like mold outbreaks in your home.

Once the inspector has a complete understanding of the extent of your spalling bricks, he or she will recommend the appropriate steps for repair. In many cases, the bricks can be repaired with a process called tuckpointing, which uses mortar that is expertly color-matched to your chimney’s unaffected areas. The repair can be a quick, affordable, and effective solution to your chimney spalling.