Don’t Trust the Safety of Your Home to Just Any Chimney Sweep
When hiring a chimney sweep, it is vital to find a professional who will do the job correctly the first time. That’s why you shouldn’t trust the safety of your home to just any chimney sweep. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends homeowners ask the right questions before letting someone clean, inspect, or repair their chimney and fireplace.
Are you insured?
Chimney cleaning can be dangerous, and that’s one reason why homeowners should only hire professionals. Mistakes can lead to accidents that can cause injuries or property damage. Chimney service providers that carry business liability and workman’s compensation insurance protects homeowners from liability in the event of an injury or property damage while working in the home. Otherwise, the homeowner could be liable for any accidents or damage an uninsured worker causes while working on their property.
Do you have any certifications?
The chimney service industry is mostly unregulated, so just about anyone can claim to be a chimney sweep. To ensure you don’t fall into the hands of someone who will potentially scam you, check for CSIA certification. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is one of the largest organizations that trains and certifies chimney professionals. A Certified Chimney Sweep® must also abide by a strict Code of Ethics. The highly coveted CSIA certification assures homeowners that the person they are letting into their home is an educated, knowledgeable, and ethical professional that has a thorough understanding of the chimney system and any attached heating appliances.
Can you provide references?
Don’t be afraid to ask for references before hiring a professional chimney sweep. A reputable chimney contractor with a long-standing reputation serving the community will be glad to provide potential customers with a list of satisfied customers. Some of the questions you can ask: Were you satisfied with the level of service offered? Would you re-hire them again? Did they conduct themselves professionally?
What is your experience?
The chimney sweep’s primary responsibility is to reduce the risk of fire and carbon monoxide exhaust when using the chimney, fireplace, or heating stove. So, when hiring a chimney contractor, you want to make sure they have the necessary experience to inspect, clean, and repair chimneys. Typically, a chimney sweep will work under a Certified Chimney Sweep® to obtain the knowledge and expertise needed to achieve certification. While a new chimney service provider may claim to have the experience, an experienced contractor is a better choice.
Don’t be fooled by low prices
Cheap can be expensive. If a contractor charges artificially low prices for their services, tread with caution. There are chimney scammers that will charge low rates to lure unsuspecting homeowners. Once inside, they may perform shoddy work or worse. They could damage the chimney increasing the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Some scammers will also charge for repairs that are not necessary and walk away without doing any work. They may also be uninsured, which means the homeowner will be on the hook for any damage that may occur.