A chimney is a structure, typically made of masonry, clay or metal, that is used to move the smoke and exhaust gases produced by a fireplace to the exterior of a structure.

The type of chimney installed depends on the type of fireplace, with most masonry fireplaces using masonry chimneys and pre-fab fireplaces typically utilizing metal chimneys.

picture of a masonry chimney from a home inspection
Masonry chimney with a cricket installed

The Chimney Safety Institute ( and the National Fire Protection Association ( recommend that chimneys and vents are inspected annually and cleaned and maintained as needed.

Please note that, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, a level 2 appliance/chimney inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property. This includes inspection of all readily accessible portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible portions of the appliance and the chimney connection (including attics, crawlspaces and basements), as well as a visual inspection (by video scanning or other means) in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. When you buy a home, we recommend a level 2 inspection be performed on all units present in the structure prior to use.