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We Offer Chimney Inspections for Nashville & the Surrounding Areas

It’s amazing how, every fall, homeowners shift into home-improvement mode. They clean gutters, garages, and basements, getting everything prepared for the winter and the upcoming holiday season. The one thing they forget – and don’t usually inspect, repair, or clean – is their fireplaces, including the chimney. Fortunately, for chimney inspections near Nashville, our crew is here for you.

Inspections and the closely-related chimney cleaning (also known as sweeping) are both preventive maintenance services that are required by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) in agreement with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Offered in three different levels, a chimney inspection is, as the name suggests, a full-scale overview of your fireplace and chimney system.

Whether you use your fireplace frequently and have noticed no issues or changes in performance or you’ve recently switched fuel types or repaired some damage, having everything evaluated and checked out before your first fire this season is a must.

Ready to get your fireplace inspection on the books? Work with us. Call the Ashbusters team at 615-459-2546 or reach out online now.

Why Are Chimney Inspections Important?

Why do we emphasize the need for annual chimney inspections so heavily? 

Well, for many reasons, but perhaps the biggest and most important is to ensure the safety of you, your family, and your home. Did you know that there are roughly 25,000 chimney fires every year in the United States? And yet, nearly all home fires that originate in a chimney, fireplace, or other solid fuel-burning appliance are preventable according to both the CSIA and the NFPA. 

The leading factor that causes most of these fires? Failure to clean the systems and clear out all the debris, creosote, and other debris that fills them over time.

Does My Gas Fireplace Need an Inspection?

Many people think their chimneys only need to be cleaned and inspected if their appliance is fueled by wood, such as in a traditional open-hearth fireplace or a wood stove. However, nearly every single heating appliance – whether it burns gas, oil, wood, or coal – relies on a chimney (or alternative flue exhaust system) to safely carry toxic gases produced by the heating system out of the house.

And there, every single chimney, no matter the fuel type, should be inspected every year – including gas-fueled ones.

Are There Different Types of Chimney Inspections?

While they aren’t necessarily different types, there are a few different levels. Ranging from a level 1 chimney inspection to a level 3, each of these services builds upon the previous and is determined by a handful of factors. Here is an overview of the three levels and the specifications of what they entail and when each level is required:

Level 1 Inspection

  • Recommended if you have not changed – and do not plan to change – your fuel type or heating appliance.
  • Considered appropriate during annual service visit and during flue cap installation.
  • Technicians do not need to use tools to open or remove doors, panels, or coverings in order to examine the chimney exterior and interior.
  • Technicians may need commonly available tools to examine portions of the appliance and the chimney connection, but the evaluation will not disrupt the chimney structure or finish.

Level 2 Inspection

  • Required when any change is made to your system – for example, before the flue is relined, or when you replace an appliance, repair any damages, or switch fuel sources.
  • Required upon the sale or transfer of property.
  • Suggested when an operating malfunction or external event is likely to have caused damage to the chimney or appliance.
  • Does not require the removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure.
  • Includes all services appropriate in a level 1 inspection, plus the examination of less-accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior, including attics crawl spaces and basements.
  • Includes a visual inspection by video scanning. We use Chim-Scan, which is a camera system specially designed to snake up your chimney. When we’re through, we’ll have HD quality imagery of the inside of your flue system.

Level 3 Chimney Inspections

  • Conducted only after a level 1 or level 2 inspection indicates a hazard in closed off, hard-to-reach portions of the chimney and flue.
  • Involves the removal (and possible destruction) of portions of the chimney or building structure, as necessary.
  • Requires special tools and access to concealed areas of the chimney and flue.

Want more information about each level and which service you should be scheduling? Reach out to us and someone from our team will be happy to answer questions and calm concerns. Give us a call at 615-459-2546 to learn more.

What Happens During a Chimney Inspection?

While every company – and every technician – likely works a bit differently, all chimney inspections will entail some level of “sameness” when it comes to the steps. Sure, some professionals may choose to start at the top of the system on your roof and work their way down, while others may first examine the firebox and other components inside of your home… But in any case, every level of chimney inspection will involve a thorough investigation of all the parts, pieces, and components that work to maintain a fully functional fireplace and chimney system.

You can expect your chimney technician to check out your flue for any obvious signs of damage, degradation, or decay in the form of cracks or holes, tile separations, and any obstructions that may be blocking the exhaust’s escape path. We’ll also keep an eye out for leaks, signs of animal intrusion and other external debris, and just generally ensure that everything is safe, sound, and secure so that you can enjoy your fireplace without fear of hidden dangers.

Large Brown Brick Chimney with two vents on top sitting on a roof of a home

What Are the Parts of My Chimney?

Ok, so you know there is probably more than what meets the eye when it comes to the bits and bobs and various components that make up your fire-burning appliance, but what are they? What precise purposes do they serve? Is it even important for you to know that information anyway?

We’re firm believers that knowledge is power and the more you know and understand about your fireplace (or other chimney-bearing appliance), the better – and safer – you’ll feel. Just like the homes they’re part of, chimney systems and structures can vary quite a bit between different models and fuel types. However, for the most part, every appliance will contain the following components that work together to establish a suitable, functional, and efficient system:

  • Chimney Cap: Starting at the very top, your chimney cap features a roof-like structure that fits right overtop the chimney flue. Because the flue is how the gases and harmful fumes escape, chimney caps must have some sort of ventilation built into them, so as to not completely seal off the flue. The cap is your system’s very first line of defense against rain, animal entry, and other outside debris.
  • Chimney Crown: Located slightly below the cap, the concrete chimney crown (or metal chase cover if the system is prefabricated) seals off the rest of the chimney’s opening. Without this component, the rest of the chimney chase (with the exception of the flue) would be left open to the elements, which would cause extreme decay and damage to the entire structure.
  • Chimney Flashing: Appearing as metallic shingles, the flashing serves an important role – to establish a watertight seal where the roof meets the chimney. Arranged in several overlapping layers, the flashing works to protect the home and chimney against water intrusion.
  • Flue/Chimney Liner: Many don’t realize, but the smoke produced during a fire does not simply float up the untreated brick walls of a chimney. The flue refers to the insulated space within the chimney itself where the smoke, exhaust, and other harmful byproducts travel through. The chimney or flue liner refers to the material that lines these internal walls and protects the rest of the structure from extreme temperatures and combustion fumes.
  • Smoke Chamber: Shaped like an upside-down funnel, the smoke chamber is found between the firebox and the opening of the flue. The shape is intentionally designed to encourage the smoke to rise to the flue, so it doesn’t turn around and draft into your living space.
  • Chimney Damper: Controlled by some form of manual mechanism, the damper’s job is to seal off your chimney flue when the system is not in use. It’s located at the end of the smoke shelf and is usually controlled by a lever in the top of the firebox.
  • Smoke Shelf: A small ledge found between firebox and smoke chamber, the smoke shelf helps to direct the exhaust and combustion fumes up to the rest of the system. It also protects against downdrafts and works to keep outside debris away from the firebox.
  • Firebox: And finally, the part we’re all most familiar with, the firebox is just another (more “official”) name for your fireplace, or the place where the flames sit.

Keep in mind, even with a guide and a bit more information, chimneys are complicated structures that involve a great deal of science and precise training to service accurately and safely. Here at Ashbusters, we support and encourage DIY enthusiasts…but not when it comes to chimney care and maintenance. 

If you suspect something is wrong with your system or you’re nearing the one-year mark since your last chimney inspection or cleaning, call in the professionals. You can schedule an appointment right here online, or by calling us at 615-459-2546.

There Are Animals in My Chimney… What Now?

Long associated with baby delivery, nearly every culture has a tale about the stork. Some mythologies paint these birds as malicious, baby-stealing creatures, while others believe them to transport a person’s soul back and forth in accordance with the seasons. Old German folklore tells stories of storks finding babies in caves or marshes and delivering them to deserving families, and sweets placed on the windowsill to attract the animal indicated that a household was ready for a baby. Meanwhile, there is other European folklore – primarily in Austria and Germany – that believes a stork nesting in or on a chimney is good luck.

Here at Ashbusters Chimney Service, we can’t speak on the fable side of things, but we can tell you that while nesting storks in your system may be rumored to be good luck, it’s not the best situation if you’re looking to enjoy your fireplace. So, whether you have birds occupying your chimney or it’s just that time again to have your appliance checked over, the team at Ashbusters is here to help. 

With over three decades of experience working on chimneys and fireplace systems in the central Tennessee area, we’ve certainly seen it all – and we’ve got the tools and expertise to handle it, too. Reach out through our website, by filling out this appointment request form or give us a call at 615-459-2546 to learn more and schedule your chimney inspection today!

large white and black bird in nest on top of chimney

How Much Do Chimney Inspections Cost?

It’s a great question we all relentlessly scour the internet for an answer to: What is X, Y, or Z going to cost me? Unfortunately, as you might’ve seen on some of our other website pages, Ashbusters Chimney Service does not actually publicize our prices online.

Why is that? Because like so many other home improvement or maintenance services and projects, the estimated cost depends on a multitude of factors and thus can vary quite drastically. For this reason, we never want to supply any false information to our wide range of customers throughout the greater Nashville area.

But, we also value honesty, integrity, and cost transparency. We want you to know that you’re making the right choice when you book a service with us and are always more than happy to discuss our services and approximate prices with you. Once we know a bit more about you, your appliance, and its history of use, care, and overall maintenance, we’ll be able to provide you with a more accurate quote.

Oh! And don’t forget to ask about our financing options. We aim to make it as easy and painless as possible to keep your home and hearth safe by lessening the burden of upfront expenses.

What Are the Risks of Not Having My Chimney Regularly Inspected?

We’ve touched on this already by discussing the very real and very dangerous possibility of chimney fires coming as a result of chimney care neglect. But are there more risks associated with skipping out on those preventive services, like inspections and regular chimney cleanings? What about those who don’t use their fireplaces regularly – or at all? Are inspections still necessary?

While chimney fires might be the most visibly drastic result of a long-ignored fireplace system, they are far from the only one. Overlooking the importance of regular chimney inspections can lead to a host of general nuisances and other serious dangers:

  • Strangely burning fire or inability to stay properly and effectively lit
  • Smell of smoke lingering in and around the fireplace
  • Excessive production of smoke that wafts back into the living space
  • Worsening weak or damaged areas by continuing regular use without an inspection
  • Presence of animals
  • Carbon monoxide exposure/poisoning

Can I Perform a Chimney Inspection Myself?

We’ve said it before and will continue to emphasize, no – it is not in any way recommended to attempt to perform a chimney inspection (or any other chimney-related service or project) without the help of a professional chimney sweep company. 

They may be common appliances found in nearly every home, but that does not mean that they are inherently safe or easy to fully understand and effectively maintain. Remember that a chimney’s main purpose is to vent the exhaust fumes and extremely hot smoke created during combustion…inside the walls of your home.

By nature, these structures come into regular contact with excessively high temperatures and dangerous, acidic byproducts that require a specific skill set to know how to deal with. Plus, without the right tools and equipment, you’d have quite a hard time reaching and examining all the areas within the chimney walls, which is where most of these dangers lie.

Trust us – it’s much better to simply give us a call and hand off the responsibility to someone who has the knowledge and the experience to do a job correctly and safely. That way, all you have to do once you schedule your service is kick back, relax, and let us do all the hard (and dirty) work for you.

Too bad there aren’t more items on your seasonal to-do list that you can offload and delegate, right? If it has to do with your hearth, Ashbusters has the team of certified and experienced technicians to handle it all, so whether you’re looking to switch fuel types or fix a minor leak, we’re here to help.

When Is the Best Time to Book a Chimney Inspection?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as all homeowners are different and thus use their appliances differently. However, what we have found throughout our 38 or so years of service in the chimney industry in the Nashville community is that it makes the most sense to schedule those preventive services – like your inspection and chimney cleaning – before the start of every burning season

Again, this might look a little different if you use your flame-producing appliance day in and day out regardless of time of year, but considering the generally higher temperatures we experience here in Tennessee, most homeowners only operate their fireplaces (and other heating appliances) for a few months a year starting sometime in the fall.

That said, chimney service companies like ours tend to experience a busy season as soon as temperatures start to drop and stay down. Our schedules get full of repairs and other troubleshooting services as more and more homeowners turn to their appliance to heat their home. For this reason, we like to recommend scheduling those routine, annual services some time in the spring or summer to ensure you’re set up for success when fall rolls around and you’re struck with an urge to enjoy a home fire. 

Book Your Annual Chimney Inspection with Ashbusters, Today!

Perhaps you’ve recently learned there is a family of storks establishing their home atop your chimney. Maybe you’ve begun to suspect that something just isn’t quite right when it comes to your fireplace. Or maybe you’ve never once burned a fire in your hearth. No matter your specific situation and experience, if your home has a fireplace, it’s crucial that you establish and stay on top of an annual maintenance plan that includes a chimney inspection.

That’s where we come in. For chimney care, repair, and other maintenance services in the Nashville area, there is no place better than Ashbusters Chimney Service. Contact us online or give us a call at 615-459-2546. We’d love to work with you!


If the chimney service you need turns out to be chimney repairs, no problem… we’ve got you covered.