Chimney Inspections — The Most Important Service I Provide

Here at Armour Chimney Service,  I am proud to provide courteous, reliable chimney service to my customers in Coeur d’Alene and beyond. My goal is to meet my customers’ needs and to make fireplace and stove maintenance easy and fireside experiences safer. I believe that knowing truly is half the battle, which is why I perform thorough chimney inspections in single and multi-family homes, restaurants, commercial properties, and apartment and condominium complexes of all sizes.

The more you know about your chimney system, the better equipped you’ll be to get it the attention it needs so you can safely enjoy the warmth and comfort your fireplace or stove can provide.

When Should Chimneys Be Inspected?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 211 Standard, chimneys, fireplaces, and solid fuel-burning and gas-burning appliances need to be inspected when they are installed to ensure proper installation. They will also need to be inspected annually thereafter.

13.1 Initial Installation. Initial installation of chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall allow inspection of the surroundings to determine that the required clearances have been maintained and that correct provisions for support, stabilization, future inspection, and maintenance are in place.

13.2. Annual Inspection. Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year in accordance with the requirements of section 14.3.

Exception: Type B and BW gas venting systems.

Type B vents are vents/chimneys that are listed and used for gas appliances only, and type BW vents are specialty vents for use with specific gas heaters (where required by the manufacturer). All other systems, including factory-built fireplaces and inserts, wood stoves, pellet stoves, and all other gas fireplaces should be inspected annually.

But keep in mind: inspections aren’t only needed when an appliance is installed or on an annual basis. Sometimes, problems arise, performance suffers, there’s a chimney fire, or another circumstance (like the sale of the property) demands an inspection.

What Are The NFPA 211 Levels Of Inspection?

Here at Armour Chimney Service, I perform all three levels of inspection, as defined by the NFPA 211: Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents & Solid Fuel Appliances. Here’s what you need to know about each:

Level 1 inspections — During a level 1 inspection, I will examine any readily accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior, and any accessible portions of the appliance and the chimney connection.

What will I be looking for? Basic soundness and condition of the chimney and flue and proper installation and connection. I’ll also be looking for any flue obstructions or combustible deposits, like creosote.

A level 1 is an appropriate inspection if you haven’t made any changes to your appliance or venting system and you plan on using it just as you always have.

Level 2 inspections — During a level 2 inspection, I’ll take a more in-depth approach, performing both a visual inspection (like I do during a level 1) and a video scan to get a good look at the chimney’s interior, including the joints and tiles of the flue liner.

What will I be looking for? I’ll be looking for everything I look for in a level 1, as well as looking for any cracks, water damage, gaps, voids, or other concerns that wouldn’t necessarily be obvious during a level 1 inspection. No specialty tools or demo equipment is required during a level 2, aside from the video scanning equipment.

A level 2 is required when you’re changing fuel type or flue liner, as well as when you’re replacing an appliance with one that differs in type, input rating, or efficiency. It’s also required when a property is changing hands and after a major malfunction or event that could have damaged the system, like a chimney or structure fire, an earthquake, or other severe weather event.

Level 3 inspections — Unlike level 1 and 2 inspections, level 3 inspections can require the removal of certain components, like the crown or interior chimney wall. These inspections include everything in a level 1 and 2, as well as the possible removal or destruction of attached portions of the chimney or structure in order to get a better look.

These are really only required when serious problems and dangers are suspected, but a level 1 or level 2 inspection can’t be used to determine where those problems and dangers originate or what the true condition of the chimney system is.

Who Should Perform your Chimney Inspection?

According to the NFPA 211 Standard, one must be a qualified agency in order to conduct a chimney inspection.

15.1* General. Inspections shall be conducted by a qualified agency.

What is a qualified agency?

3.3.111 Qualified Agency. Any individual, firm, corporation, or company that, either in person or through a representative, is engaged in and is responsible for the connection, venting, installation, inspection, repair, or servicing of heat-producing appliances and who is experienced in such work, is familiar with all precautions required, and has complied with all the requirements of the AHJ.

To be a qualified agency in Idaho, the company should have an HVAC or HVAC Hearth Specialty license. An HVAC license is needed to pull the permits required when installing wood-burning equipment as well. So before scheduling an inspection, ask your chimney sweep if they have an Idaho HVAC or HVAC Hearth license.

Here at Armour Chimney Service, I am qualified to perform all of your inspections. I am a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep, F.I.R.E.-Certified Inspector, NF-Certified Master Hearth Professional, and I hold an Idaho HVAC Hearth license. I am professional, dependable, and ready to provide you with the detailed inspection you need for your property.

I Also Inspect Certified Family Homes

Certified Family Homes (CFH) are homes that are designed to provide a “safe, family-style living environment for adults who need some assistance with the activities of daily living, but do not require a more restrictive institutional setting.”

In Idaho, Certified Family Homes require furnace, fireplace, and chimney inspections. If you have a Certified Family Home and need a wood, pellet, or gas fireplace, stove, or furnace inspected, give me a call. All inspection reports are typewritten digital documents. You’ll receive a hard copy at the conclusion of the inspection, and a PDF copy can be emailed to you, along with corresponding photos.

Ready to schedule an inspection? It’s easy with Armour Chimney Service. Simply call 208-550-8474 or request an appointment right here on my website. I am here to help!


When you need fireplace and stove troubleshooting, service installation or repair, you can count on my quality chimney and venting services all year long.

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