Inspections are a required part of the homebuying process. But what if the previous owner never used their fireplace? Are you in the clear to skip the chimney inspection portion and save your client some money?

The Short Answer

The short answer is that you cannot skip the chimney inspection regardless of its prior usage. This is because a Level 2 inspection is required for all chimneys before transfer of ownership takes place. This requirement isn’t simply a cash grab, however. There are several reasons why it makes sense to have any chimney inspected during the homebuying process.

Chimney Damage

If you take a brief look up the chimney in question and it looks ideal, that doesn’t mean it actually is ideal. Over time, weathering begins to take its toll on chimneys and can wear their joints and masonry. This can lead to the development of cracks that aren’t always easily visible. Unless this sort of damage is detected and fixed, there may be risks associated with using the chimney.


Moisture can get trapped in chimneys when they are never used. When this happens, there will always be a risk that the moisture will damage the structure of the chimney and even other parts of the home. This risk is magnified is the chimney isn’t properly lined, which is often the case with unused chimneys.


If a chimney has managed to stay free of moisture and fire, that means it’s probably the perfect space for a pest to call home. Squirrels, birds, bats and mice often nest in chimneys and they can cause a lot of damage during their stay. Of course, this damage may have never been detected if the chimney was never used. When a chimney is inspected and subsequently swept as part of a home inspection, any threat of pest intrusion will be detected and directly addressed.

Clean Sweep Is Here to Help!

Call Clean Sweep Maryland today at 410-558-1111 for professional chimney sweep, slate roofing and duct cleaning services designed to keep all of your listed properties clean and safe for sellers and buyers. If you have a prospective home buyer or home seller in need of a slate roof inspection or repairs, we are here to help.