15 Minute Assessment

Traditional Fireplace

Fireplaces can have an open firebox or a cover with a door. Smoke exits through an opening inside the chimney called the flue. A flat piece of metal called a damper controls airflow through the flue.

Though traditional fireplaces create a cozy atmosphere, as much as 90% of the heat goes up the chimney. Covers can limit drafts and increase efficiency.

Get a professional fireplace and chimney inspection every year, before the heating season starts. To limit dangerous creosote buildup, burn dried (seasoned) wood. Well-dried wood burns hotter and cleaner, which helps prevent creosote.



Repair and replacement costs

Typical Costs

  • Inspect: $130 – $375
  • Repair: $160 – $820
  • Replace: $1,000 – $10,000

Life span


Metal: 20 – 30 years
Brick or stone: 100+ years

Steps to Assess Your Traditional Fireplace


Step 1: Inspect the outside of your fireplace. Look for any damaged masonry or mortar. To prevent fires, make sure anything flammable is at least 3 feet away.


Step 2: Clean inside your fireplace with a wire brush. If it has doors and an air intake, make sure they open and close easily. Replace the door gasket if it’s cracked, peeling, or damaged.


Step 3: Test your damper. If you look up your chimney, you should see a flat piece of metal. That’s your damper. It’s usually controlled by a handle, knob, lever, or chain. Make sure it opens and closes.


Step 4: Inspect the chimney from the outside. Binoculars help. Is the chimney cap loose or clogged with debris? Look for cracked or missing masonry and mortar. If your chimney is cracked, leaning, or buckling, contact a masonry pro right away.