A fireplace chimney can be a very expensive item to repair. On South Minneapolis homes, the stucco chimney on the exterior of the home can run $30,000+ to rebuild it from the ground up. That is an expensive repair.
A fireplace chimney inspector can send a camera up and down the chimney to verify that the joints are still solid so that water cannot get in between the bricks or liner pieces. This is called a Level 2 inspection. Cracks or gaps between the joints can allow a burning ember to get inside of the chimney structure, which could cause a chimney fire. This can smolder for hours before anyone notices.
They can also check for creosote buildup, which can be dangerous and could cause a chimney fire. Creosote is a byproduct of wood burning and is typically found in the soot when burning wood. This soot can leave creosote deposits on the chimney liner.
If the chimney is found to be in need of repair, there are more modern ways than a total $30,000+ rebuild. Companies can line the wood fireplace chimney with a steel liner that is much less expensive than rebuilding for a cost around $15,000.
Another alternative is to install a gas insert fireplace. This usually costs something in the neighborhood of $6000-8000, depending on choices and options.