Recently I inspected a home that was owned by a home inspector (I will not give the name) and while nothing out of the norm was observed or detected, I was called in to do a comprehensive inspection of the fireplace.
I have known the home inspector for a while and he always recommends a level II inspection to get a full scope of the health of the system. I am very glad that he took his own advice and had me come inspect his fireplace! Below is what I found:
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When the home was remodeled the contractors did not install 68″ of flue liner and all of the flue gases were terminating into a wooden chimney chase!
The entire missing section was hidden inside of the chimney chase and nothing out of the norm was visible from the attic as well.
Luckily the issue was found before a chimney fire occurred but only a slight irregularity and the experience of a few thousand inspections let me to find this potentially deadly issue.
This is also yet another example of why you should always have carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home for safety and replace the carbon monoxide detectors you do have every five years (replace batteries once a year minimum). With homes that have fireplaces, attached garages, or gas appliances, you are especially at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not take the risk!
Finally, If you are in need of a professional chimney Sweep, I always recommend going to the source and searching through the CSIA website for a certified chimney sweep in your area.