The Certified Chimney Reliner (CCR) is designed to provide an independent assessment of early-to-mid career chimney sweep through a knowledge-based exam. Passing the CCR exam demonstrates a candidate has thoughtfully prepared, understands pertinent codes and standards and has the competency to perform skilled and safe chimney relining and repairs.

Candidate Profile

Entry-level and mid-level chimney professionals that specialize in relining chimneys seeking to demonstrate more advance/specialized knowledge and experience.


None. 1-2 years of experience is recommended.

  1. Chimney Construction and Chimney/Flue Liner Knowledge
  2. Inspection and Codes
  3. Chimney Relining and Repair Processes
  4. Safety
  5. Math

See Exam Outline below for additional detail.


3 Years

Recertification CEUs

36 CEUS (1 hour : 1 CEU)

  • 18 Technical
  • 6 Codes & Standards
  • 6 Safety
  • 6 Elective (Any category including business)
Description Fee (USD)
Application $0
Exam Fee - LIMITED TIME BETA TEST DISCOUNT $149 (Limited to first 60 candidates)
Exam Fee - Individuals employed by NCSG Members $750
Exam Fee - Individuals not employed by NCSG Members $900
Annual Maintenance Fee $0
Renewal - Individuals employed by NCSG Members $500 + 36 CEUs
Renewal - Individuals not employed by NCSG Members $700 + 36 CEUs
Retest Fee $100

1. Chimney Construction and Liner Knowledge — 21%

a. Identify the different types of chimneys (masonry, factory-built, all-fuel) and vents (L Vent, B Vent, Direct Vent)

b. Understand National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 31, 54, and 211 requirements, the International Residential Code (IRC), and local codes for chimney construction to determine if chimney is constructed properly

c. Identify common chimney defects (e.g., clearance issues, improper termination dimension, improper smoke chamber/chimney wall thickness, improper flue sizing, improper materials, sudden occurrence event damages, moisture damage, improper crown, improper shroud, wood beneath the hearth/hearth extension)

a. Understand the purposes of a chimney/flue liner (prevents condensation, provides proper draft and flow, forms insulating air space, keeps products of combustion from seeping into home, protects chimney walls)

b. Understand how a chimney/flue liner contains the products of combustion

c. Understand how a chimney/flue liner can be compromised (gaps in flue liner, damaged liner, missing mortar joints, improperly aligned tiles, damaged tiles, and other tile issues)

d. Identify the different types of chimney/flue liners (fire, rapid heat, acid, moisture, freeze/thaw, natural disasters, faulty construction

e. Identify types of damage to clay tile flues (vertical cracks, horizontal cracks, spalling/crumbling/softening, missing/eroded mortar joints)

f. Identify types of damage to metal flues (bluing, warping, resting, joint screw holes becoming oversized, separation of liner joints, elbows popping, flexible liner joint separation, corrosion, tee snout separation, sagging, brittleness)

2. Inspection and Codes — 20%

a. Understand the circumstances that require a Level II inspection (e.g., upon addition or removal of one or more connected appliances or replacement of appliance with one of dissimilar type, input rating, or efficiency; prior to relining or replacement of flue lining; upon sale or transfer of the property; after operating malfunction or external event likely to have caused damage to the chimney)

b. Understand the scope for each of the three levels of inspection

c. Understand the degree of access required for each of the three levels of inspection

d. Understand the indications for each of the three levels of inspection

e. Utilize best practices for documentation of inspection findings and presentation to client

f. Understand when additional inspection is required due to issues found during repairs

g. Identify reasons why a chimney/flue relining is necessary in a chimney (e.g., the flue needs to be downsized, the flue is too cold, condensates or tar residue is seeping into the home; flue is leaking smoke into dwelling, flue surface is eroded, etc.)

a. Understand UL 1777, Standard tests and requirements for insulation and chimney liners (tested together as a system) with a chimney

b. Understand the International Residential Code (IRC)

c. Understand when and how to reference NFPA 54 and, the National Fuel Gas Code and NFPA 31, the Standard for the Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment

d. Understand and apply local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) requirements and manufacturer installation instructions

3. Chimney Relining and Repair Processes — 35%

a. Understand preparation methods to protect the living area

b. Understand smoke chamber parging methods, materials, and products

c. Remove soot, and creosote in the area(s) to be repaired/relined

d. Understand International Residential Code and NFPA 211 guidelines for installing UL-listed products to manufacturer instructions

e. Understand use and application of draft induction fans

f. Understand requirements for installing dampers including top mount dampers

g. Understand when to advise a customer that damage has been caused by sudden occurrence which may be covered under their homeowner’s insurance policy

h. Understand applicable regulations regarding permits and licenses for chimney repair

i. Ensure that all other aspects of the chimney system are up to code when repairing a chimney

j. Understand post-repair requirements including cleanup, product/appliance/liner break-in, warranty, user guides, recommendations, and walk-through

a. Understand flue tile removal techniques

b. Understand blockage removal techniques

c. Understand damper removal techniques

d. Understand safety concerns during tile removal

e. Understand tools used in flue tile removal

f. Understand camera uses after flue tile removal to identify concealed defects

a. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of clay tiles

b. Identify common mistakes made in tile lining (e.g., using wrong cement, not cleaning inside mortar joint, improper alignment of tiles, improper sealing of smoke chamber joint)

c. Understand NFPA 211 standards and IRC requirements for installing fire clay tiles

a. Understand what products are actual relining options versus resurface repairs only

b. Understand when to consider resurfacing or repairing with liquid coatings (e.g., when there are missing mortar joints and flues are in good shape; when there are hairline fractures/cracks but the rest of the chimney is solid; when the flue needs to be improved to resist a more corrosive environment)

c. Understand when you should not consider resurfacing or repairing with liquid coatings (e.g., when the chimney is unlined; when the tiles are cracked more than coating manufacturer allows; if flue is in need of downsizing; when clearance to combustibles is not met)

d. Identify the benefits of using liquid coating to repair joints (e.g., cost effectiveness, safety, convenience, performance, durability, guarantees from manufacturers)

e. Identify common mistakes and failures when repairing with liquid coatings (e.g., failure to remove creosote; not exercising patience; not mixing according to directions; failure to clean off extra mortar from joints; installing coating on an unlined chimney; failure to inspect coating after installation)

a. Identify the different types of metal alloys available for relining (aluminum, stainless steel, 304, 316, 316-Ti, 316-L, AL 29-4C) and what to consider when choosing a material

b. Identify the differences between rigid and flexible stainless steel liners, and what to consider when choosing between the two

c. Identify the different types of flexible metal liners (light, high-performance light, smooth inner-wall, heavy-wall), and when to consider a specific liner for a specific job

d. Identify the common mistakes and failures in metal relining (e.g., improper sizing; improper installation of insulation; improper attachment of tee snout; not installing on a solid base; improper sealing; not checking for shipping/handling damage)

e. Understand installation methods when using metal liners

f. Understand the purposes of insulation of vent or flue (e.g., prevent heat transfer to chimney walls and surrounding walls of dwelling; higher temperature creates good draft to minimize condensation and creosote buildup)

g. Identify common types of insulation used by most chimney reliners (e.g., vermiculite/cement insulation mixture, ceramic wool blanket, aluminum metal backed ceramic blanket wrap, sleeve wraps, pre-insulated, etc.)

a. Understand the benefits of cast-in-place liners (e.g., highly insulated; impervious to heat/acids/condensation; cleaner burning; used in old and new construction; can be used for any application and fuel type; adds structural integrity to chimney, etc.)

b. Identify the two common methods of installation of cast-in-place liners (English type/bladder method; German type/vibrating bell method)

c. Identify common mistakes and failures in cast-in-place lining/relining (e.g., downsizing the liner; using homemade ingredients; improper mixing and pouring in the mix too quickly, etc.)

a. Identify the different types of factory-built chimneys (mass insulated, air insulated/cooled, modular masonry)

b. Understand what to look for when examining a factory-built chimney (e.g., rust, corrosion, pitting/perforation, buckling, settling, disconnected pipes, lack of proper joints on modular masonry, etc.)

c. Understand that all factory-built chimneys shall be installed according to manufacturer instructions, include all listed parts as required by manufacturer, and that combining parts from different manufacturers to make a chimney system is strictly prohibited

d. Understand when sections of a factory-built chimney can be replaced and when the whole system must be replaced

e. Understand when and why chase covers need to be replaced in accordance with fireplace manufacturer instructions

f. Understand the terms and conditions associated with listings of factory-built inserts

g. Identify and address contradictions and gaps between listing, ASTM standards, and manufacturer installation instructions with regard to factory-built inserts

a. Identify the problems caused by high efficiency appliances venting into chimneys (e.g., breakdown/erosion of clay tiles/bricks/mortar; splitting tiles; excessive condensation; destruction of flues; lowered draft)

b. Understand when to recommend relining of a chimney with a high efficiency appliance (e.g., moisture damage; existing flue is oversized; etc.)

c. Understand that all heating appliance installations which vent into unlined masonry chimneys need new lining systems installed along with the new heating appliance

d. Ensure proper sizing of the liner per the appliance requirements

a. Understand clearance requirements and clearance reduction systems

b. Understand rise and maximum horizontal run requirements

c. Identify the appropriate type of connector for installation (B vent, L vent, single wall, double wall)

d. Understand proper installation of wall pass-throughs

a. Understand installation and repair of: All-fuel chimney systems, B vent for gas vent, L vent for oil vent, direct ventfor listed gas applications, and hybrid systems (e.g., masonry chimney liner converts to all-fuel system) according to manufacturer specifications and UL listings

b. Understand the installation requirements for inserts into masonry fireplaces

4. Safety — 16%

a. Ensure that fall restraint, fall arrest systems, or positioning device systems are provided, installed, and implemented according to OSHA standards

a. Ensure construction of scaffolding is in accordance with OSHA regulations of specific types of planks/walk-boards, weight limitations, and regular checks

a. Ensure safe and proper use of power tools used in chimney relining (drills, grinders, brick hammers, rotary hammers, chamber chippers, pneumatic devices, etc.)

b. Ensure safe and proper use of hand tools used in chimney relining (super wedges, hammers, winches, etc.)

c. Ensure safe and proper use of equipment used in chimney relining (lifts, grout pumps, cement mixer, etc.)

d. Understand and ensure proper ladder safety (weight ratings, positioning, securing, etc.)

e. Utilize safe lifting and handling techniques

a. Select proper PPE requirements for various chimney relining processes (eye, ear, respiratory, gloves, helmet, protective clothing, etc.)

b. Understand the effects of potentially hazardous products and demonstrate knowledge of material safety data sheet (MSDS) guidelines (e.g., creosote removal of chemicals, smoke chamber mixes, etc.)

c. Understand techniques to mitigate silica exposure and soot containment

a. Understand OSHA requirements for confined space entry

b. Identify when a permit is required for confined space entry

5. Math — 8%

a. Calculate area

b. Calculate volume

c. Calculate sizing of solid fuel flue per NFPA 211 and International Residential Code

d. Calculate liner capacity and BTU requirements for heating appliances per NFPA 31 or 54

e. Understand and calculate 3-2-10 rule