Your expectations will, of course, vary with the amount of time that has passed and changes that have occurred since the last cleaning. Especially the latter – a change in your fireplace system’s use or fuel – virtually always mandates a Level 2 inspection and the need for more extensive cleaning. Equally, though, if you cannot remember how long it has been, it is probably been too long.
How Extensive It Will Be
If you have scheduled a level 1 inspection, but the chimney sweep sees areas of concern, they will likely recommend a more thorough inspection. Higher-level inspections build on the lower ones, so you have not wasted time or money. You may, however, need to schedule a second round of cleaning, since chimney sweeps stay pretty busy, especially in fall.
You should discuss this with the certified chimney sweeps you are considering, but generally, it is ‘better to err on the side of caution’. A Level 2 cleaning may involve camera assistance even though the pictures are not needed to prove compliance. It certainly involves different specialized cleaning tools, and it takes more time.
As a result, it may be best to schedule a Level 2 cleaning if you are uncertain of the condition of your chimney. If it turns out that your chimney has aged well and you only need a Level 1, every CSIA-certified chimney sweep will tell you that. Certified sweeps do not do unnecessary cleaning, they do exactly what is required and recommended by fire professionals for your safety… no less, but maybe more!
What You Need To Know
To find out exactly what that means you can expect and to confirm that your sweep has CSIA certification, go to www.csia.org . Actually, once you confirm that, you can just ask your sweep, both what is involved in the different cleanings and which you need. Knowing what to expect will let both of you make the best possible use of your time and still ensure your safety.