Recommending a Level 2 Fireplace Inspection

Realtor panicked today because of my recommendation of a level 2 fireplace inspection. Said she has never seen it in a report . This is standard in my reports to provide my clients with the information that this is the safest way to proceed with the use of a fireplace that they do not know the history of use and care of by the former occupants. If everything that i visually inspect is satisfactory or functional , i still recommended the level 2. Is this the best practice or is there a better way to go about this? This forum is priceless.


I always recommend a fireplace inspection, I work for the client, the Realtor can pound sand


Give her this.
NFPA 211: Standard for Chimneys , Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances requires a Level II / Real Estate Inspection upon the sale or transfer of a property.


I recommend a phase 2 on any fireplace I see any sort of safety deficiency, which is almost all but not quite.
I have never had any gripe about it.
I also love to talk to my clients about every deficiency that’s a safety hazard in detail while their agent is there so my client second guesses the realtors intentions and not mine.


She is a clueless NOOB, tell her to hit the books or don’t question the expert opinion. For the most part, L2 inspection is an inspection of inside of the flue with a camera.


I’m going to agree with Simon, she sounds like a noob to me. But you did it exactly right. Any time I can’t see every square inch of a chimney and verify that it is 100% properly installed and in good condition (almost never), I’m going to recommend a NFPA 211 level 2, performed by a CSIA certified chimney sweep. Complete with a link to the CSIA web site.
So, now let’s make some lemonade. She had no idea what you were recommending or why, so obviously she has been working with less well educated Inspectors. Now you have an opportunity to educate the new realtor on fireplaces and probably lots of other stuff. Instead of blowing her off as an idiot (even if she is one), with a little helpful and friendly conversation about what you said in your report and why, and a little luck you can become her go to guy when she has questions about inspections and what she should be looking for. Turn it into a marketing opportunity.


Whats the take on gas sealed units with direct venting out the side of home instead of a actual chimney? Should every fireplace regardless have a level 2


Liability wise you should ALWAYS recommend a Level 2 on any wood burning fireplace. I do them myself and offer them as an ancillary service. Great way to make easy extra $. A significant number of fireplaces that appear fine structurally still have damaged flues and you cannot inspect these properly without a camera system made for this. Most chimney sweeps/inspectors don’t even do it correctly. These represent significant fire hazards in most cases.

Never listen to a realtor about what to recommend in your reports. Tell your customers to get as many inspections as you think necessary.


I always recommend an inspection and cleaning by a licensed chimney sweep. I agree with you in that call!

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Had the same thing happen to be a number of years ago, Realtor called me and stated he’d been selling homes for over 20 years and never heard of a level II inspection.

Send her this -

Chances are she’ll be thankful & grateful for the learning experience.

Excellent advise Fred! Make yourself a resource for her.


I agree with all written before me. That being said, realtors can get a little squirrelly when we start recommending a months worth of specialist inspections just to cover out butts. If there are no physical defects and any likely problems can be solved by cleaning, I like to use “Recommend Level 2 inspection of fireplace prior to use.” This covers my six and makes the impression on the client and the realtor that whatever the tech finds probably won’t kill the deal.

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I have 2 comments I’ve used for at least 15 yrs and never heard ANYBODY whine.

#1 - FYI - It is impossible for a visual home inspection to determine with any degree of certainty whether a flue is free of defects. The NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) recommends that all chimneys be inspected before buying or selling a home. In our opinion this is a prudent recommendation. We recommend having a Certified Chimney Specialist conduct a Level II inspection of the chimney and flue, etc prior to closing of escrow.

#2 - The interior of the flue(s) was not fully visible. The NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) recommends that all fireplaces, chimneys, etc be inspected before buying or selling a home. In our opinion this is a prudent recommendation. We recommend having a Certified Chimney Specialist service and check this prior to close. Correct any defects if present.


Thank you Dan.


You’re Welcome

So based on my research, InterNACHI home inspector are not NFPA or CSIA certified and therefore does not even offers Fireplace Level 1 inspection because Level 1 requires removal of the damper. Am I correct? Should I include this information in my report as well? Any idea if a separate license/education is required in Florida if we promote inspecting chimney as part of a regular home inspection?

15.4.1 Circumstances. A Level II inspection shall be conducted
under the following circumstances:
(1)* Upon addition or removal of one or more connected
appliances or upon replacement of an appliance with one
or more of dissimilar type, input rating, or efficiency,
unless the last connected appliance is removed and chimney
use will be discontinued
(2) Prior to relining of a flue or replacement of flue lining, in
accordance with 7.1.10
(3) Upon sale or transfer of the property
(4) After a building or chimney fire, weather or seismic
event, or other incident likely to have caused damage to the chimney.
(5) At other times as indicated in Section 15.3.


I too would recommend level II inspections, however, there were no qualified inspectors within 175 miles of where I was inspecting. Really turned into a headache for the buyers and real estate agents, not that was my problem.

Our inspection of the fireplace is limited to the readily visible portions only. The inner reaches of a flu are relatively inaccessible. Our restricted view from the top or bottom is not adequate to discover possible deficiencies or damage, even with a strong light. For safe and efficient operation we recommend annual inspections by a qualified fireplace professional. A qualified fireplace professional will clean the interior, if necessary; use specialized tools, testing procedures, mirrors and video cameras as needed to evaluate the fireplace system. If the chimney has not been inspected by a qualified fireplace professional, within the past year, we recommend this be done prior to use.