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Chimney Sweep & Inspection

Hi, we’re Chimney Works. Since 2001 we have provided chimney sweep & chimney inspection services to the Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky areas. 

What To Expect From A Chimney Cleaning

Ben and Jeremy explain what to expect from your Chimney Works chimney sweep in under 2 minutes.

1. We’ll call ahead of time to let you know we are coming.

2. Friendly and knowledgeable techs will arrive on time.

3. We respect your home. We’ll set up drop cloths, rug runners and use shoe covers to protect your carpet.

4. Brushable creosote and soot are removed without damaging your fireplace or chimney. We’ll start inside at your firebox and work our way up to the top of the flue.

5. We will use both brushes on rods and hand brushes to ensure all parts of your chimney are cleaned.

6. Elbows in factory-built chimneys or connector pipes are cleaned and inspected.

7. We’ll clean, inspect and adjust your chimney damper and damper assembly.

8. Our technicians will work from both outside and inside the home and use proven methods to assure that no soot or creosote escapes into the room during the cleaning service.

9. A high-speed vacuum with a triple layer HEPA filter will be used during cleaning and tarps over the fireplace stop any dislodged soot and creosote from entering and staining your home

10. All soot and creosote dislodged during the cleaning process will be removed from the smoke shelf and firebox by a high-speed vacuum. Nothing gets left behind.

11. Chimney Works will also examine the stove or fireplace and chimney and will provide information regarding any problems or concerns discovered during the cleaning process. We will provide a convenient electronic report with pictures so you can always have a record of our work. If we find repairs are needed – NO PRESSURE.


A Level 1 Inspection is included with every sweep. Scheduling online takes only 30 seconds and no credit card is required.

We’re Certified

Your chimney sweep should be an inspection too. So how do you know if your chimney sweep is qualified to properly clean and inspect your chimney? Thankfully, the CSIA helps train and certify chimney sweeps. A certified technician will be able to make recommendations that will keep your family safe. These recommendations are based on the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes and standards. Using a company with certified technicians will give you peace of mind all year long.

CSIA Certified Logo

What To Expect From A Chimney Inspection

Ben and Jeremy explain what to expect from your Chimney Works chimney inspection in under 3 minutes.

A licensed chimney sweep will not only clean the chimney of built-up creosote but will alert you to defects in the flue or firebox that cause safety concerns.
A qualified chimney sweep will inspect:

  • A cap with a screen should be present on the chimney to prevent rain, snow and birds and animals from entering the chimney.
  • The condition of the bricks and mortar should be inspected. The bricks exposed to weather need to be reset or the mortar may need repointing.
  • The flue liner should be inspected for excessive creosote buildup or cracked flue tiles. The leading cause of fires from wood-burning fireplaces, inserts or wood stoves is partially burned fuel (creosote) deposited on the walls of the chimney flue.
  • If your fireplace has glass doors, the gasket material around the door opening should be inspected. Defective gaskets should be replaced to ensure proper operation of the fireplace. If you have an insert or a wood stove, the gasket is responsible for making the unit airtight. Defective gaskets can cause an excess air can leak into the firebox creating an over fire condition, which may permanently damage the appliance
  • If applicable, the blower of your fireplace should be cleaned. Excessive dirt will shorten the life of the blower and create a potential fire hazard.
  • A professional should check for deteriorated or broken brick in the lining of the firebox. Replacement of the bricks may or may not be necessary depending on the severity of the damage.
A Chimney Works Employee leads a training class.

Every Wednesday the entire staff gathers for a training session. Learning never stops if you are a Chimney Works employee.

A Chimney Sweep tests a new tool used for parging smoke chambers.

Cody demonstrates a new tool to the team. This sprayer is for parging smoke chambers.

A Chimney Sweep cleans a chimney.

Jeremy, one of our CSIA Certified Technicians, sweeps a multi-flue chimney from the roof.

A man inspects a crumbling chimney.

Steve inspects a chimney with multiple problems while training a new technician.

A flashlight shines down a chimney flue that is made of clay flue tiles.

A Level 1 inspection of a chimney flue ensures it is not blocked or restricted. An experienced chimney sweep can ‘read’ a chimney and guess what quality fuel you have been burning.

Weathered, cracked bricks that have missing mortar.

Some damage like these cracked bricks and missing mortar are obvious, but only when you are on the rooftop.

Chimney Inspections Prevent Fires

Both the Chimney Sweep Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend an annual chimney inspection for a reason: They prevent fires from occurring. According to a landmark study completed in 2013, over 20,000 fires related to Fireplace & Chimneys occur annually. According to the CSIA, many of these fires are preventable by a chimney inspection and a chimney cleaning. Chimney inspections are best performed by individuals who carry the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep credential, as they are trained and certified in what to look for. At Chimney Works, our technicians are certified, and we follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommended inspection procedures. Contrary to popular belief, it is not enough to have someone come out and clean your chimney once per year. Your sweep should be doing an inspection while they are cleaning, and based on what they see, take further action. 

At Chimney Works, we have to talk about fire prevention on a regular basis. We pride ourselves on giving an accurate depiction of risks so that customers are informed. We would like to point out that fireplaces and stoves are safe when properly inspected and maintained. A 2019 study by the NFPA reveals that more fires are started by cooking equipment than by chimneys. And even when discussing fires caused by heating equipment, space heaters are the leading cause of house fires.

Frequency of Inspection

NFPA recommends that all chimneys, fireplaces, and vents be inspected annually. In addition to this requirement, there are other times when chimney and venting systems should be inspected, such as:

  • After any unusual, or sudden occurrence event, such as a chimney fire, lightning strike, or earthquake
  • Prior to purchasing a home with an existing chimney
  • Whenever changes are made to a chimney or vent system, including replacement of connected appliances
  • Prior to major chimney repairs


A chimney flue with a vertical crack from thermal shock.

Damage to a chimney is not always obvious. This cracked liner was in the middle of the chimney and was only visible when we ran a camera down the flue.

A chimney flue with missing mortar in between the joints.

The mortar joints between these two flue tiles have fallen out. This gap defeats the purpose of a chimney liner and needs to be repaired.

Inspection Levels

NFPA divides the inspection procedure into three categories, or levels. A Level I inspection is the most basic level of inspection while Level II and Level III inspections are progressively more detailed and comprehensive. A Level I inspection is completed during each chimney cleaning or sweeping that Chimney Works provides.

Level I Inspection

A Level I inspection is the recommended level when an evaluation of the chimney system for continued service is needed and the conditions of use are not changing. This could include:

  • Routine or annual evaluations of the venting system
  • An appliance connected to the system is being replaced with a similar appliance
  • During chimney cleaning or sweeping

A Level I inspection is limited to readily accessible portions of the venting system, and accessible portions of the connected appliance(s) and the chimney connection. The inspector will check the readily accessible portions of the chimney, its enclosing structure, and the flue. A Level I inspection includes verification that the flue is not blocked or significantly restricted.

Level II Inspection

A Level II inspection is more detailed and thorough than a Level I inspection and is the recommended inspection when conditions of use for the appliance or venting system are changing, or when a Level I inspection reveals the need for a more detailed inspection. Several instances where a Level II inspection is specifically recommended include:

  • Replacement of an appliance with one of dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency
  • Prior to a flue relining
  • Upon sale or transfer of the property
  • After an event likely to have caused damage to the chimney, such as a chimney fire or other sudden occurrence event

A Level II inspection includes all of the requirements of a Level I inspection as well as the following:

  • Inspection of accessible areas of attics, basements, and crawlspaces
  • Accessible areas of the chimney exterior and interior
  • Accessible portions of the appliance and chimney connection
  • Video scanning, or other thorough inspection, of the flue interior
  • Evaluation of the flue lining to determine that its material and sizing is appropriate for the appliances being served
  • Proper clearance to combustibles in the accessible areas listed above
  • Proper construction and condition of the chimney system in the accessible areas listed above

While the Level II inspection is a rather thorough inspection and requires access to many areas of the building, it does not require removal of permanent parts of the building, such as siding, chase covers or wall coverings.

Level III Inspection

A Level III inspection is the most detailed of all of the inspection types and includes inspection of concealed areas of the building. However, an examination of concealed areas will be limited to areas reasonably suspected of containing hazards that cannot be evaluated otherwise.

A Level III inspection includes all areas covered in a Level I and Level II inspection, and inspection of concealed areas to investigate known or suspected problems. In as much as certain portions of a Level III inspection require destructive action to the building, the inspector will discuss these areas with the building owner prior to the inspection.

High Definition Video Chimney Inspections

It used to be that a chimney inspection would involve someone shining a light in the chimney and doing a visual inspection. While sometimes problems can still be spotted in this fashion, technology has evolved to allow a high definition camera be placed in a chimney to reveal problems that would otherwise be hidden. These are sometimes referred to as a chim-scan or a video scan. The specialized camera allows a chimney technician to inspect a chimney with a much better visual, allowing problems to be spotted (or sometimes eliminated). Video inspections are often recommended after a chimney fire or some other form of damage to a chimney and are a routine part of a Level II or Level III inspection.

A chimney flue clay tile liner with a crack in it from thermal shock.

This liner has a crack in it from Thermal Shock. 

A tar black, shiny, hard substance called glazed creosote is on a chimney flue liner.

Creosote has glazed in this flue. It is very difficult to remove. Is there a crack hiding behind this glazed creosote?

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