Protecting Our Clients

While inspecting homes for our clients, we frequently find it necessary to recommend additional inspection or cleaning of the chimney by a qualified professional.

Safety 1st Home Inspections are proud to have partnered with the only Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney experts in the Knoxville area. The CSIA recommends that homebuyers have their chimney inspected before closing on a home. As an added convenience for our clients and their real estate agents, we are happy to schedule any necessary chimney or fireplace services that our clients need.

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Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which can damage or destroy structures, and injure or kill people. ​

Masonry Chimneys

When a chimney fire occurs in a masonry chimney, whether the flue is an older, unlined type or a modern, tile-lined chimney that meets current safety codes, the high temperatures (around 2000°F) can melt mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse, and damage the outer masonry material. Most often, thermal shock occurs, tiles crack, and mortar is displaced, which provides a pathway for flames to reach the combustible wood frame of the house. This event is extremely dangerous.

Prefabricated/Factory Built Metal Chimneys

Factory built metal chimneys that are designed to vent wood burning stoves or prefabricated metal fireplaces must pass special tests. Most tests require the chimney to withstand flue temperatures of up to 2100°F without sustaining damage. Under chimney fire conditions, damage to these systems still may occur. When prefabricated, factory built metal chimneys are damaged by a chimney fire, they must be replaced.

Effects on Wood Stoves

Wood stoves are made to contain hot fires. The connector pipes that run from the stove to the chimney are another matter. They cannot withstand the high temperatures produced during a chimney fire and can warp, buckle, and even separate from the vibrations created by air turbulence during a fire. If damaged by a chimney fire, they must be replaced.


Since a damaged chimney can endanger a home and its occupants, it’s important to have your chimney regularly inspected by a CSIA Certified chimney sweep. Here are the signs that a professional chimney sweep looks for:

  1. “Puffy” or “honeycombed” creosote
  2. The warped metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber connector pipe, or factory-built metal chimney
  3. Cracked or collapsed flue tiles, or tiles with large chunks missing
  4. Discolored and/or distorted rain caps
  5. Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney
  6. Creosote flakes and pieces found on the roof or ground
  7. Roofing material damaged from hot creosote
  8. Cracks in exterior masonry
  9. Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners

Contact Safety 1st Home Inspection in Knoxville today for a fireplace, chimney, or home inspection.